I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you don’t build bullpens with big name free agents. You build it through your farm system and with smaller deals. Jerry Dipoto clearly believes in that philosophy. Look at some of the things he’s done in the off-season and during the season last year, like the trade for Ernesto Frieri. Now it appears they are going after a bigger fish, but one that they won’t have to use as much bait on than a Rafael Soriano.
According to reports, Kyuji Fujikawa toured the ballpark and met with Dipoto and Mike Scioscia. Since 2007, Fujikawa’s lowest ERA for a season was 2.01. He has over 200 career saves in Japan and has a 12.4 K/9 ratio according to baseball-refernce.com.
Fujikawa is going to cost the Angels so much less then a signing of Soriano would. Sure, there’s more risk involved since you don’t know how good he’s going to be, especially in making the transition over to MLB (see Kei Igawa or Junichi Tazawa)
The Angels clearly have a budget and if Zack Greinke is re-signed it’s going to take up quite a bit of that. They will need to go cheaper in other spots to help alleviate the cost of Greinke. Of course, if the Dodgers or another team signs him, that goes out the window.
Expect some movement on this during the winter meetings. I think that a lot of the free agent movement will be occurring during that time. It’s usually a very quiet time around baseball this week, but hey, you never know what could happen.