Cliff Pennington had a decent year for the Angels as a bench infielder, putting up a .253/.306/.330 slash line with respectable defense in 217 plate appearances. It was enough to keep him on the team, and will probably be enough to keep him in the majors next year, but his utility in fantasy remains limited to very deep leagues. The veteran infielder hasn't received more than 300 plate appearances since 2012, and nothing he's done in recent years has encouraged teams to expand his role. Pennington could produce a respectable batting average for a part-time middle infielder, but is unlikely to offer much in any other category. He hasn't stolen more than three bases since 2014 and hasn't hit more than three home runs since 2012.
Pennington signed a split contract with Cincinnati on Thursday, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports. Pennington will earn $1.5 million if he makes the major-league roster. The 33-year-old played in 87 games with the Angels in 2017, slashing .253/.306/.330 with three home runs and 21 RBI. If he winds up carving out a spot on the big-league team, expect Pennington to serve in a reserve role as a bench infielder, although his value will be capped due to limited abilities at the dish.
Pennington started at short and went 2-for-4 with his first career grand slam in Wednesday's 10-8 win over Oakland. Pennington's heroic blast capped off a five-run comeback in the seventh inning over the Angels' division foe. It was just the 33-year-old's third homer of the season, so fantasy owners shouldn't overreact to his big night at the plate. Pennington was relieving Andrelton Simmons at short, but the majority of his playing time comes at the keystone against left-handed starters.
Pennington got the nod at the keystone against a left-handed pitcher Tuesday, going 1-for-3 with a solo home run in a loss to Washington. The veteran infielder has started six of the Angels' last 12 contests, but all six have come against southpaws. A strict platoon has developed at second base between Pennington and Kaleb Cowart, but the latter plays more and thus is the more desirable fantasy asset.
Pennington started at the keystone and went 2-for-4 in Sunday's victory over the Mariners. Kaleb Cowart has emerged as the Angels' primary option at second base, but Pennington has picked up starts in two of the club's last three games, which have both come against southpaws. While both players are switch hitters, the former has struggled against lefties since being called up (4-for-20) while the latter has experiences success against that handedness this season (10-for-34), so a platoon situation at the keystone appears to be developing in Los Angeles.
Pennington is out of the lineup Sunday against the Red Sox. Pennington had logged the previous three starts at second base, but that was only because the opposition rolled out left-handed starters in each of those contests. With righty Rick Porcello on the mound for Boston in the series finale, Pennington will give way to Nick Franklin, who is expected to see the bulk of the starts at the keystone on the strong side of a platoon.