Offseason Progress Report: Grading the Angels’ Moves

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Updated: November 14, 2016

I know, I know, it’s early in the offseason , but after only three moves Billy Eppler has already filled three areas of need. The Angels have moved quickly to address some glaring weaknesses, and it’s never too early to start passing judgement on these offseason moves! Let’s take a closer look at these moves, and we’ll give grades to each move up to this point.

Traded RHP Victor Alcantara to the Detroit Tigers for OF Cameron Maybin I’ve already made my feelings known about this move – trading from an already barren farm system for a player who has never stayed healthy, and has medium upside even when he does play just doesn’t make sense. The move looks even worse when you consider the context;

the Angels have gone cheap in left field for years now and it has not panned out, and the team just finished a disastrous season where almost every player who could get hurt did just that. So why add an even more injury prone and inconsistent player to an already thin position that’s given you nothing for years, and give up an asset on top of that? The only thing saving this move from a flat-out F is the fact that Maybin is only under contract for one year at a relatively cheap $9m. Final Grade – D-.

Re-Signed RP Andrew Bailey to One Year Worth $1m – Andrew Bailey came over from the Philadelphia Phillies in the middle of the season and pitched pretty well for the Angels in limited time, even getting the chance to close out six games for the Halos. In twelve games overall Bailey pitched to a 2.38 ERA, allowing three runs on nine hits over eleven innings.

Bullpens are notoriously fickle, and the Angels have a lot of uncertainty on the backend. Closer Huston Street is coming off the worst season of his career, one that ended early with injury, Cam Bedrosian pitched great all year but also had his season cut short, and after that it’s a lot of youngsters with high upside but a lot of risk. After how well Bailey pitched for the Angels, bringing him back on a one year deal at such a small AAV is a great decision, and he’ll bring needed depth and experience to the bullpen. Final Grade – B+.

Angels Sign RHP Jesse Chavez to One Year Deal $4.75m – The Angels have lots of options in their rotation for next season, but all go into the season with huge question marks; can Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs stay healthy? Can Matt Shoemaker pitch like he did this last season after his demotion or will he revert to the pre-demotion, mediocre version of himself? Can Ricky Nolasco really pitch as well as he did at the end of the season, or more like he had for the previous three seasons? Can Alex Meyer finally stay healthy and deliver on his considerable potential?

It made sense, then, for the Angels to look at a pitcher capable of pitching in the rotation or out of the bullpen in case everyone stayed healthy and pitched to their potential, preferably for a cheap, one year deal. After watching pitchers like R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon get eight and twelve million, respectively, nabbing Chavez for this amount is a steal. Chavez is not going to blow you away with all-star numbers, but he’s pitched consistently in multiple roles and fits exactly what the Angels need, and you can’t beat the price. Final Grade – B+.

The Bottom Line – The Angels have done a decent job of improving themselves while retaining financial flexibility; all three players will combine to make less than $20m next year, and each one is signed for only one season.

The Angels have struck quickly to fill these holes, too, leaving them time and cap space to concentrate on aggressively pursuing upgrades at second base and possibly catcher. There are still good players available on the market in areas of need for the Angels, and the fact that some holes are already plugged for so cheap allows the Angels to truly consider all their options and put themselves in the best position to improve the roster for this upcoming season and beyond.

Overall, Eppler and company have put together a solid, if unspectacular, offseason. That’s exactly what the Angels need after striking out big time in free agency’s past, and there’s still plenty of time for Eppler to continue to improve this team.

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