With the record signing of closer Wade Davis by the Colorado Rockies Friday,the question looms for the LA Angels do they need to pay big money for a proven closer or do they have enough arms in-house?
After all the moves the LA Angels have made this past month, there is only one more thing many people are saying they need to consider doing: acquiring a closer to solidify their bullpen. Although Wade Davis is off the market now as he agreed to a three-year deal worth 52 million dollars with the Colorado Rockies there are still some other options out there.
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Davis was considered to be the best available option in the free agent market as his ERA the past three season is 1.80 and converted 76 of 81 save opportunities during that period. However, with Davis’ contract being so lucrative that it set a MLB record for closers, it will surely drive the price up for the remaining closers on the market. The Dodgers Kenley Jansen also got a mega-deal getting a five-year contract worth 80 million at the end of 2016.
The proven closers still available are the Rockies Greg Holland and Boston’s Addison Reed are both viable options, but they won’t be cheap now that Davis set the bar so high. So then you can look at guys who have closer experience but are really suited better as set-up men such as Tony Watson most recently of the Dodgers or Tyler Clippard of the Astros (was traded to them at the deadline in 2017).
The other possible candidates could be a guy like Matt Belisle of the Twins who closed the last two months of the season after Brandon Kintzler was traded. Twins former Glen Perkins could be an option if he is healthy, but I don’t think is worth an more than a minor league contract.
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With the options being so limited, and also expensive I think the Angels best bet is to find a candidate from within their bullpen or take a chance on some non-roster invitees such as they did in 2017 which netted them Blake Parker, Bud Norris, and Yusmeiro Petit which all paid dividends.
I think that with the addition of Jim Johnson, who was acquired from the Braves in November, Cam Bedrosian, Kenyan Middleton, and the aforementioned Blake Parker, the Angels bullpen will be just fine. Their only need I believe is a reliable left-hander who can be used as a lefty specialist.
I think any of those four pitchers could assume the closer role with Blake Parker or Jim Johnson being the best options. Johnson has had some effective years as a closer and Parker is just flat out nasty, I think they could share the duties until one proves themselves to be the better option.
Bedrosian and Middleton could also potentially do a good job as a closer if they show some consistency which they both lacked in 2017. We will just have see how things pan out during the Spring unless Billy Eppler has another ace up his sleeve.