Angels Add Matt Lindstrom to Crowded Bullpen


According to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times, the Angels have agreed to terms with veteran reliever Matt Lindstrom on a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. The Halos will be the seventh organization the 35-year-old right-hander has pitched for during his eight-year career. Lindstrom has spent the past two seasons pitching for the Chicago White Sox.

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Originally selected by the New York Mets in the 10th round of the 2002 draft, Matt Lindstrom suffered through his worst season as a pro in 2014. The Rexburg, ID product went 2-2, with 6 saves, and a 5.03 ERA across 34 innings of work. He struck out a career low 4.8 hitters per 9 innings, and issued 3.2 free passes per 9 innings. He allowed a career worst 1.735 walks/hits per inning with the Pale Hos last season. Lindstrom’s 4.47 FIP was not terrible, but it was still the second worst mark of his career.

The silver lining for Matt Lindstrom is the fact that the White Sox misused him in 2014. The South Siders employed Lindstrom as their closer for the early part of last season, and the results were disastrous. He has experienced his most success as a middle reliever during his career, which is exactly how the Halos plan on using the 35-year-old.

Sep 26, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Matt Lindstrom (27) makes a throw to first base against the Kansas City Royals during the ninth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Kansas City defeats Chicago 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Lindstrom has appeared in 469 games and pitched 420.2 innings over the course of eight seasons in the Major Leagues. He has consistently put up respectable numbers throughout his career, going 17-21, with 51 saves, and a 3.68 ERA. His 3.47 FIP is a really impressive number, as is his 4.6 career wins above replacement. Lindstrom has averaged 7 punch outs per 9 innings, and has a career 2.12 strikeout to walk ratio.

Ironically, Matt Lindstrom had the best three year stretch of his career leading up to 2014. He posted a record of 5-6, with a 2.95 ERA from 2011 to the start of last season. Lindstrom struck out 6.8 batters per 9 innings, and allowed just 2.8 walks per 9 innings. He did a much better job keeping the other team off base, as he limited the opposition to 1.311 walks/hits per inning. The University of Idaho alum gave up just 7 home runs in 161.2 innings pitched. If he can duplicate his 2.39 strikeout to walk ratio in 2015, Lindstrom could prove to be quite a steal for the Halos.

Matt Lindstrom will be given an opportunity to compete for one of the final spots in the Angels’ bullpen this spring in Tempe. He will have a tough fight on his hands with right-handers Vinnie Pestano, Cory Rasmus, Cam Bedrosian, Ryan Mattheus, and Drew Rucinski all competing for one or two jobs. Lindstrom is the most experienced name on this list, and should be viewed as an early favorite to land one of the remaining spots in the ‘pen.

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The Angels’ bullpen is overflowing with viable right-handers, but I like Matt Lindstrom’s chances of breaking camp with the Halos. We have discussed the lack of power arms in the Angels’ bullpen in recent days, and adding Lindstrom’s 93 mph fastball could make a big difference. Signing Matt Lindstrom is yet another under the radar move made by Jerry Dipoto that could pay big dividends for the Halos in 2015.

Next: Are the Angels Interested in Chris Young?