Angels Ink Ryan Mattheus to Minor League Deal


The Angels have signed 31-year-old reliever Ryan Mattheus to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. General Manager Jerry Dipoto announced the deal on Wednesday. Mattheus spent the first four seasons of his career as a member of the Washington Nationals. He has been plagued by inconsistency during his career, but Mattheus has managed to post a record of 7-7 with a 3.60 ERA across 142.1 innings.

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Ryan Mattheus was a very effective reliever for the Washington Nationals during the 2012 season. The Sacramento product went 5-3 with a 2.85 ERA across 66.1 innings for the division champion Nats. He held opponents to an impressive 1.146 walks/hits per inning, and allowed just 2.6 walks per 9 innings. Although never categorized as a strikeout pitcher, Mattheus managed to tally a 2.16 punch-outs per walk ratio. Mattheus proved to be a quality reliever against right handed batsmen, holding righties to a stat line of .240/.293/.373 across 150 at bats in 2012.

2013 was a horse of a different color for Ryan Mattheus. The former 19th round selection of the Colorado Rockies went 0-2 with a 6.37 ERA across 35.1 innings of work. He allowed 7.7 hits per 9 innings in 2012, but that number skyrocketed to 13.2 the following season. He command suffered as well, allowing just over one extra walk per 9 innings at 3.8. His strikeout per walk ration dropped to a measly 1.47. His splits were flat out awful in 2013. Mattheus could not retire a lefty to save his life, allowing opposing hitters to post a stat line of .438/.486/.516 across 64 at bats. He did not fare much better against righties allowing the opposition to hit .286/.344/.358 across 84 at bats.

May 3, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Ryan Mattheus (52) throws a pitch int he fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Interestingly, his FIP actually improved in 2013, dropping from 4.42 in 2012 to 3.44 the following season. Also, his home run rate improved dramatically after allowing 1.1 home runs per 9 innings the previous campaign to just 0.3 in 2013. His strikeout rate stayed steady, matching his career high of 5.6 per 9 innings.

2014 was a season doomed due to injuries for the 31-year-old right-hander. Mattheus suffered a rib cage injury last spring, and once he had healed, he spent much of the season with the Nationals triple-A affiliate in Syracuse. Unfortunately for Mattheus, he failed to impress against the weaker competition. He went 1-3 with a 5.80 ERA across 40.1 innings of work. However, Mattheus did perform nicely in limited action with the big club last year, posting a 1.04 ERA over 8.2 innings.

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The Angels are in a great spot heading in next season with multiple strong right-handed options in their bullpen. Mike Morin, Huston Street, Joe Smith, Fernando Salas, and Vinnie Pestano are all quality relievers, but they are all right-handed. This congestion of talented righty relief pitchers may be Ryan Mattheus’ biggest obstacle in his quest to exit Tempe as member of the Angels. That being said, Mattheus does offer some bounce back potential, and is a nice low risk signing by Dipoto and his staff.

It will take a very strong spring performance from Ryan Mattheus to secure a spot in the Angels’ bullpen, but he could easily find himself pitching in Anaheim next summer if he can recapture his 2012 form.

Next: Angels 2015 Salary Arbitration Preview