So, it’s come to this. The Angels signed Tony Pena to an undisclosed contract and it isn’t the catcher with a 5.1 fWAR (Fangraphs wins above replacement) in 1984. Instead, they inked the former White Sox reliever with a 6.20 ERA and a 4.43 walk rate.
The Angels bullpen, or bLOLpen as it’s affectionately known on the Twitter, is in shambles. David Carpenter was sent back down after hemorrhaging eight earned runs and four home runs in his 11.2 innings since July 4th. Steven Geltz was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake and, um, he also can throw a baseball. Geltz has a 3.76 ERA and a 3.08 BB/9 in 26.1 innings. So… Yay!
Something has to give. With Scott Downs on the DL, Ernesto Friere giving up eight earned runs on six walks and three homers in his last nine innings and Jordan Walden just now starting a rehab assignment, the Angels bullpen is worse than the acting in the Fast and Furious franchise.
How bad is the Angels bullpen? If you believe the 0.7 fWAR or 4.20 FIP (fielding independent pitching), their relievers have combined to be the worst in the American League.
Sure, Tony Pena isn’t the answer to the bullpen woes and I don’t know what is. That must be something GM Jerry Dipoto struggles with everyday. I’m thinking, just spitballing here, maybe putting in relievers who can throw those strike thingies in high leverage situations. I wonder if there are any studies on that.