Free Agent Targets: Bargain Closers who could be Elite
If you think the Angels have done enough this off-season to improve their starting rotation and the money would be better served elsewhere, then maybe a bullpen upgrade most notably a bonafide closer would be money well spent.
There are some low-cost closers out there that could fit the bill nicely such as Greg Holland, Kelvin Herrera, Cody Allen, or Sergio Romo all of which could be had for less than 10 million dollars per season and could be very effective options.
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Holland has the most closing experience, but had a dreadful first half of the season in St. Louis before finishing out strong in Washington. Holland has been a proven commodity over the years posting a 2.83 career ERAand a 1.18 WHIP with an opponent batting average of .206. In his career Holland has converted 189 out of 212 save situations (89%). Holland is 33 and his ERA has been over three earned runs per game in the past three seasons which raises a red flag, but he could be out to prove himself if he is signed to a one-year deal with incentives for around 10 million dollars.
Romo on the otherhand had one of the best years In a longtime and was an integral part of the Rays bullpen starter philosophy that helped them get back into the playoff hunt in last two months of the season. Romo has also had a strong career as a set-up man and a closer posting a career 2.86 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP with an opponents batting average of .211. Like Holland he is also getting up there in years as he is now 36. He could be a great low cost option as he would probably get a contract of around eight million dollars at best.
Allen is another interesting option for the Angels as a closer. He has been part of one of the best bullpens in baseball over the past three or four seasons, but like Andrew Miller, who was signed earlier this month, Allen had a very sub-par 2018 season.
Allen has only had one season since his rookie year of 2012 that his ERA has been above three and that was 2018 where it ballooned to 4.70. He still saved 27 of 32 games, but it seemed a lot worse. The question is was this just a bad year or a sign of things to come?
With Allen being just 30 years old I believe he will get back to form in 2019 and because of his proven track record 2.98 career ERA and 1.19 WHIP with an opposing batting average of .211 most people would agree with this assessment. His mediocre 2018 season may just lower his price tag to under 10 million dollars per year which the Angels could take advantage of. He and Herrera may be two of the biggest bargains out there in the closer market.
Herrera may be the best of this bunch as he has tremendous stuff and is only 29 years old and has a career 2.85 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP striking out 454 hitters in 460 career innings. Herrera has only had an ERA over three one time in the past five seasons and twice in his seven-year career. The biggest issue with Herrera is the fact that he suffered a foot injury at the end of August and he was lost for the season.
However, Herrera should make a full recovery before next season and the Angels should take a chance on him and they should be able to sign him for below what he is worth because of the injury-risk.
If Eppler wants to make a major move to solidify the Angels bullpen without breaking the bank, then Herrera is your man.