Cliff Pennington bolts Blue Jays to sign free-agent deal with Angels

Veteran infielder Cliff Pennington became the first free agent to switch teams this off-season when the Los Angeles Angels signed him to a two-year, $3.75 million US deal. Pennington began last season with Arizona and moved to Toronto in a trade in August.

Switch-hitting utilityman hit .210 with Toronto, Arizona

Veteran infielder Cliff Pennington became the first free agent to switch teams this off-season, leaving the Blue Jays to sign a two-year deal with the Angels worth $3.75 million US. Pennington began last season with Arizona and moved to Toronto in a trade in August. The switch-hitting utilityman batted .210 in 105 games with three homers and 21 runs batted in. (John Bazemore/Associated Press)

Veteran infielder Cliff Pennington became the first free agent to switch teams this off-season when the Los Angeles Angels signed him to a two-year, $3.75 million US deal.

Pennington will make $1.5 million in 2016 and $2.25 million in 2017 with the Angels.

Pennington began last season with Arizona and moved to Toronto in a trade in August. The switch-hitting utilityman batted .210 in 105 games with three homers and 21 runs batted in, making multiple starts at five positions.

Pennington also became the first full-time position player to pitch in a post-season game during the American League Championship Series.

"His defensive versatility, along with a veteran presence in the clubhouse, will be welcomed additions to the club," Angels general manager Billy Eppler said.

Pennington spent his first five big-league seasons with Oakland before moving to Arizona in 2013. He is a career .245 hitter.

Pennington will provide depth at the middle infield positions for the Angels, who traded longtime starting shortstop Erick Aybar to Atlanta last week for former Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

Johnny Giavotella was the Angels' primary starting second baseman last season after they traded longtime starter Howie Kendrick to the Dodgers. But the Angels struggled for consistent backup play from youngster Taylor Featherston and others while Giavotella was injured for several weeks down the stretch.

Pennington also can play third base and in the outfield.

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