Well, all stopped being quiet on the Angels front. I’m going to break down their free agent signings from today in two different postings. For now, I’m going to talk about the signing of lefty reliever Sean Burnett, away from the Washington Nationals.
Burnett and the Angels agreed to a two-year deal worth $8 million. The deal also includes a club option for 2015 at $4.5 million or a $500k buyout. Burnett makes the Angels bullpen very deep, pitching behind newly acquired Ryan Madson and joining Ernesto Frieri, Scott Downs and Kevin Jepsen in setting up Madson.Burnett had a 9.1 K/9 ratio and career low 1.9BB/9 ratio this past year for the Nationals. He’s a former first round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who drafted him as a starter but was changed to a reliever due to injury and has relieved from 2008 on. He held lefties last year to a .211 average.This is a very good move by the Angels. First of all, it’s a short term commitment. Unless you’re name is Mariano Rivera and in his prime, no reliever is worth more than a two year deal. If he does well, you just pick up the option and move on.
Secondly, it gives the Angels multiple options to finish off games, and should take pressure off of Downs being the only lefty. They don’t have to thrust Brandon Sisk or Mitch Stetter into that second lefty role, and can give the team some additional depth from the left side of the bullpen. It also lets prospect Nick Maronde continue to start and develop there, where clearly the Angels are lacking depth.
What made the Angels miss the playoffs was the bullpen foul-ups down the stretch. With the acquisition of Madson and now Burnett, what was a weakness last year, is going to be a strength in 2013.