The LA Angels Should Make a Run at Zach Britton
By Vincent Page
The LA Angels have been very active over the past week and a half in free agency. However, they have yet to address their bullpen in any noteworthy moves. Now, the Halos should make a run at one of the best left on the market.
While the LA Angels rotation has solidified with the signings of Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill, the bullpen has not improved since the offseason began. In fact, with the release of Blake Parker and the swap of Jose Alvarez for Luis Garcia swap, one could make an argument that it has actually gotten worse.
Nevertheless, the bullpen does have a good collection of arms. Most of the team’s relief pitchers last season were quality arms, but they all suffered from being overused down the line last season. With most of the unit returning in 2019, there is really only one thing missing in the Angels’ bullpen.
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They need a legitimate closer.
Last year, the Angels were fifth worst in blown saves with 26 on the season. A large part of that was having makeshift closing pitchers, and never having a true ace to pitch the ninth. That guy could be Keynan Middleton once he returns from Tommy John surgery sometime this year.
The Angels need a closer, and Zach Britton is their guy. In his career, Britton has converted over 91% of all save opportunities. Last season, for the Orioles and Yankees, he had a 3.10 ERA. He was coming off injury, and if you take out his first month back, he had a 2.25 ERA over the rest of the season.
With the Angels looking to contend for a Wild Card spot next season, they can’t afford to have a vulnerable bullpen. They have all the pieces in place for their bullpen to be a strength, but still need that final puzzle piece. Zach Britton is that piece.
It is hard to find a closer on the free agent market not looking for a big-money deal. However, even with the Angels signing Harvey and Cahill, they still have over $12 million left to spend. Unless that money ends up going towards a Yasmani Grandal (who the team has interest in) or Yusei Kikuchi (who the team needs to have interest in) type of player, they need to use it to reinforce their bullpen.
While Keynan Middleton is the team’s closer of the future, a stop-gap player like Britton, who can be a phenomenal set-up man once Keynan returns to full strength, is worth the investment.
While Billy Eppler has stated they’re only looking for bargain bin relievers, this offseason has shown things change at a very rapid pace. For the Angels’ best interest, they need to, and Britton needs to be right in the Angels’ sights.