With arguably the best player in baseball on their team (Mike Trout), the Los Angeles Angels have been a below average team. They have only made one postseason appearance in the Mike Trout era. ONE. The result? A 3-0 series sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals, who did end up making the World Series that year. Trout is an MVP candidate every year, but has had a lackluster supporting cast for most of his career. LAA has been too afraid to go all-in, and instead, settle for below average moves that result in mediocre seasons. Here’s what LAA has done this off-season, and why it shows the Angels aren’t doing enough.
Fowler Acquired in Salary Dump
Dexter Fowler is still a serviceable outfielder. At 34-years old, Fowler is still capable of solid defense, and above average offense (career .259 hitter). Additionally, the Angels will only be on hook for $1.75 million of his salary as St. Louis will be paying the rest. Furthermore, Fowler is in the final year of his five-year contract that he signed with the Cardinals. This move reunites him with former manager Joe Maddon as the two spent time together in Chicago. The new outfield for the Angels will be Trout, Fowler, and Justin Upton.
Halos Bolster Pitching with Iglesias, Quintana, and Cobb
It’s no secret that the Angels need to significantly improve their pitching. Dylan Bundy was their only reliable starter last season. LAA took strides when they signed ex-Cub Jose Quintana to a one-year deal worth $8 million. Quintana was once a very effective pitcher, and should he remain healthy, this will be a low-risk, high-reward signing.
Quintana is 31 years old and similar to Fowler, will be reunited with Manager Joe Maddon. Quintana has been the definition of consistent, averaging around 32 starts from 2013-2019. Moreover, he’s posted a 3.72 ERA during that stretch. He should slide into the 2nd or 3rd rotation spot.
Perhaps one of my favorite moves for the Halos was acquiring ex-Reds closer Raisel Iglesias for RHP Noe Ramirez and a PTBNL. Iglesias will slide into the closers role for the Angels which was a key weakness last season. LAA had 14 blown saves a season ago (most in the MLB). At 30 years old, Iglesias still has plenty left in the tank, boasting a career 3.15 ERA.
The most recent acquisition was acquiring SP Alex Cobb from the Baltimore Orioles for 2B/OF Jahmai Jones. Cobb never lived up to expectations with the O’s, recording a dismal 5.10 ERA in three seasons. Like many other new players, Cobb will link up with Joe Maddon once again as the two spent time together in Tampa Bay. Hopefully a change of scenery can turn Cobb’s career around.
Other Minor Moves
LAA signed C Kurt Suzuki, RPs Alex Claudio and Junior Guerra, and SS Jose Iglesias to one-year deals/minor league contacts. Obviously none of these moves are going to put LAA over the top. These signings are purely for depth, filling in remaining roster spots, and hopefully, getting decent production when resting starters/coming out of the pen.
Takeaways from the Angels Off-Season
Overall, this was a below average off-season for LAA. Yes, they addressed the pitching. But, how much did they really improve? Quintana and Cobb are better than the majority of the Halos 2020 starting rotation. However, both have experienced injuries and down seasons. It’s also worth noting, aside from Raisel Iglesias, the rest of the Halos bullpen is out of sorts. There needs to be more action taken on the pitching side. Options were available in the market with guys like Trevor Bauer (decision down to Mets and Dodgers), Jon Lester (one-year deal with Nationals), Alex Colome (one-year deal with Twins), or Chris Archer (one-year deal with Rays) would’ve been smarter and still affordable.
The Halos offense has been decent, mostly due to Trout. Acquiring Fowler shores up the outfield, and Iglesias should see a lot of time at SS. Losing Andrelton Simmons was a tough blow.
The Angels made moves when the hot stove started to heat up, but these moves won’t translate to a serious contender status. Maybe not even a contender status. It’s a shame that Trout’s prime is going to waste. The Halos had the opportunity to do more, but they blew it.