Can LA Angels Still Make a Big Move?
The LA Angels have been the biggest winners of the MLB offseason. However, with so many big names still on the market, and other teams looking forward to the star-studded free agent class of next year, could the Halos still make headlines?
The LA Angels seemingly have every position filled out. Their biggest holes were in left field (solved by Justin Upton‘s extension), along with needs at third and second base. Signing Zack Cozart and trading for Ian Kinsler filled each of those weak spots, respectively.
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Winning the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes solidified the front-end of their rotation while giving them a potential ace (and above-average hitter). Now, the Angels have been focused on filling out their depth with signings like Eric Young Jr.
However, the Angels have been the only team to make major signings. The rest of the MLB has been at a stand still. There is a good, ol’ fashioned standoff between MLB general managers and free agents. Now, the Halos can take advantage of it.
When the free agent dominoes begin to fall, bidding wars will more than likely ensue. Big time players such as the Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants are out on big names as they try to get under the luxury tax this season so their penalty resets. Many teams are already focusing on next year’s elite class. However, this pool of players still has big names.
Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, and Alex Cobb are just a few above average starters still waiting for deals. While they won’t sign too small of deals, odds are they will have to sign for below market value.
The Angels would be very wise to reach out to these free agents. We have already seen the magic that Billy Eppler possesses this offseason, especially with the Ohtani signing. If Eppler can convince one (or even two?) of these starting pitchers to accept one-year deals to come to Anaheim and compete for a championship, then he should sign them on the spot.
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Both Darvish and Arrieta have questions. Darvish collapsed on the biggest stage in baseball. What if he comes to Anaheim for a year and helps fuel the team to a World Series berth? Arrieta fought injuries and failed to throw 180 innings for the first time in his career in 2017. Suppose he comes to Anaheim and shows he can stay healthy and return to his dominant form from 2016.
Both of these free agents have something to prove to MLB teams. Serving one year in Anaheim while chasing a title could be their best bet at hitting the big bucks in free agency in 2018.