The Los Angeles Angels entered the offseason with a sole mission: improve their pitching corps.
The offseason is still young, despite the current lockout, but they have made some strong moves to put themselves in position to compete.
Having Iglesias back is huge for the #Angels. With him and Loup, the back end of the bullpen is very strong. Was difficult to bridge the gap to Iglesias last season. Still have Warren, Mayers, and Herget.
— Chris W (@ChrisW1212) December 1, 2021
They need more, though.
These three pitchers can boost their chances even more.
3. Andrew Chafin
Andrew Chafin was brilliant with the Chicago Cubs and the Oakland Athletics during the 2021 season.
He compiled a 1.83 ERA with a 2.98 Fielding Independent Pitching, or FIP, between the two clubs.
Overall, he accumulated 1.4 Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, a solid number for a reliever.
Chafin is a prime target for the Angels because the team is in dire need of some relievers to protect late leads.
The Angels’ relievers finished the 2021 campaign with a mediocre 4.59 ERA, the seventh-worst in MLB.
They lost several winnable games because of their bullpen, and while re-signing Iglesias and adding Loup definitely helps, they need more.
Chafin showed last season he can be a reliable late-inning weapon, capable of retiring hitters of both hands.
The Angels have several needs, but shoring up the bullpen is a good idea.
Chafin won’t be cheap, though: he rejected a $5.25 mutual option in search of a multi-year deal.
2. Ryan Tepera
Ryan Tepera is up there in age, at 34 years old, but he remains as effective as ever.
In fact, one could argue that his best seasons have been 2020 and 2021.
In 2020, his ERA wasn’t that good (3.92), but he struck out a career-high 13.50 hitters per nine innings (K/9) in 20.2 frames.
This year, however, saw him dramatically improve his ERA to 2.79 between two teams: the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox.
He maintained a good K/9 of 10.86, and pitched 61.1 innings.
He was effective in both sides of the Windy City, with a 2.91 ERA with the Cubs and a 2.50 mark with the Pale Hose.
In short, Tepera strikes people out, can maintain a low ERA, and proved he can pitch on a contender, with the stress that it represents.
He is a prime target for a contender looking for relief help.
The Angels are a starter, a shortstop, and couple of relievers away from really fighting for the American League West division title.
Tepera seems like a nice fit.
1. Carlos Rodon
The Angels have reinforced the starting rotation with Syndergaard and Lorenzen.
But they may have room for another star-level hurler.
In fact, they need it to really challenge the Houston Astros and the up-and-coming Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics.
Carlos Rodon can be that guy, even if he is not a true workhorse.
What he lacks in durability (he pitched only 132.2 innings in 2021, limited by arm soreness late in the stretch run) he more than makes up for in per-inning excellence and effectiveness.
He finished 2021 with a stellar 2.37 ERA, and could have been a prime Cy Young candidate if it weren’t for injuries.
Why isn't anyone talking about Carlos Rodon? The free agent southpaw went 13-5 with a career best 2.37 ERA in 2021, striking out 185 batters in 132 2/3 inning pitched, while posting the best WHIP 0.957 & best FIP 2.65 of his career.
Robbie Ray clone?pic.twitter.com/DmnKuEHFH1
— AngelsWin.com (@AngelsWin) November 29, 2021