Is this the offseason the Angels build a contender around Mike Trout? They’ve been linked heavily to star pitcher Gerrit Cole, who may want to go back to Southern California. That is, if they offer him the largest contract, and even then, they’re not one player away from competing for a championship- general manager Billy Eppler needs to be smart in adding premier talent.
Expected Direction: All-In on Giving Trout a Supporting Cast That Could Propel Them To The Playoffs
Angels Acquire SP Dylan Bundy From Orioles
Full Trade: Angels Acquire SP Dylan Bundy In Exchange For RHPs Isaac Mattson, Zach Peek, Kyle Bradish, and Kyle Brnocivh
As the Angels wait on their bids for some of the market’s top pitchers, they still needed to add depth to a very thin rotation, which they’ve done in a sneaky trade with the Orioles- they traded for starting pitcher Dylan Bundy for four lower-level pitching prospects. Bundy, 27, has definitely underwhelmed as a former top-five pick, but the narrative that he’s a low-quality pitcher is incorrect- his 4.58 xFIP last season was near Cole Hamels’, and Hamels just got an $18 million contract from the Braves. Additionally, his K-BB numbers (2.67) are solid, he doesn’t allow much hard contact (31.2%), and on a psychological level, one has to wonder what pitching for a losing Orioles team in an extremely friendly ballpark for hitters can do to one’s mindset. I expect to see a much better version of Bundy for the Angels next season, and for a handful of non-significant minor-league pitchers, this has a chance to be a major steal for the Halos.
Angels Acquire Salary Relief From Giants
Full Trade: Angels Acquire LHP Garrett Williams From Giants In Exchange For INFs Will Wilson and Zack Cozart
It what’s nothing more than a salary dump for them, the Angels shipped infielder Zack Cozart, and his $12.167 million salary, along with infield prospect Will Wilson, to the Giants for minor-league pitcher Garrett Williams. It’s tough to lose last year’s 15th overall pick (Wilson) to get rid of Cozart’s salary for one season, so right now, this is a tough move to analyze. What they do with that extra $12.167 million salary will ultimately define this trade, though even then, I can’t see it justifying giving up on a much-needed prospect for a pretty thin farm system. As for Williams, he’s already 25-years-old and still in Double-A, so he’s mostly just a throw-in by the Giants.
Angels Sign 3B Anthony Rendon
Contract Details: Seven Years, $245 Million (Backloaded)
Angels Sign SP Julio Teheran
Contract Details: One Year, $9 Million
Adding what I hope to be one of many more starting pitchers, the Angels have signed starting pitcher Julio Teheran to a one-year deal. Considering he’s made over 30 starts in each of the past seven seasons, there’s definitely some value to the innings Teheran will provide for a rotation that had just one pitcher eclipse 100 last season. However, he’s been a well-below average starting pitcher with an xFIP of 4.70 or higher in each of the past three seasons, including a 5.26 xFIP last season; heck, he was left off of the Braves’ postseason roster initially. The 28-year-old’s main problem is definitely with his K-BB ratio, as with suboptimal strikeout and walk rates, his K-BB ratio was just 1.13. Now, he does have above-average spin rates with his fastball and curveball, but the Angels don’t exactly have a sound track record of working with pitchers; Teheran will almost certainly be a below-average pitcher for $9 million, which is a large amount considering their lack of financial flexibility and thin rotation; if this is who they shipped Cozart’s salary with their 2019 first-round pick for, then this is as disappointing as it can get for the Angels.
Angels Sign C Jason Castro
Contract Details: One Year, $6.85 Million
If the Angels aren’t going to be able to add high-impact pitching, the least they can do is help them by bringing someone who can help them, so rather than going into next season with arguably the league’s worst catching situation, they’ve taken action- they signed catcher Jason Castro to a one-year deal worth just under $7 million. Castro, 32, split time with standout Mitch Garver behind the plate in Minnesota, and in that role, he flourished- he posted a 103 wrc+, which was unlucky considering his .364 xwOBA, and a 1.6 WAR in just 275 plate appearances. Now, he’s essentially a platoon player, as he had a negative-two wrc+ versus lefties in 45 plate appearances, and he also declined significantly in the second half. However, he’s also a great pitch framer, and if he and Max Stassi can form a nice duo behind the plate, the Angels will have one of the top defensive catching pairings in the MLB. It’s only for one year, after all.
Angels Acquire RHP Matt Andriese From Dbacks
Full Trade: Angels Acquire RHP Matt Andriese From Dbacks In Exchange For RHP Jeremy Beasley
In an under-the-radar acquisition to add pitching depth, the Angels have traded for Matt Andriese, in exchange for pitching prospect Jeremy Beasley. It’s likely that the 30-year-old comes to camp as a starter, but he had a career year as a reliever last season, so he’s certainly capable of contributing in either capacity. In fact, with a 3.88 xFIP, 10.06 K/9, and the ability to pitch multiple innings, he’s probably most valuable as a reliever, where he can be more of a full-effort type of pitcher; his K-BB ratios were nowhere near as strong as a starter. Or, his success could have more to do with an increase in his changeup usage over the past two seasons, and if that’s the case, perhaps he can be effective in the rotation. Either way, the Angels need help in both the rotation and the bullpen, and to acquire a cheap, flexible piece with two years of control for one low-level prospect is rather impressive.
*Will Be Updated With Every Move The Angels Make