LA Angels make an under the radar move that could pay dividends
By David Rice
The LA Angels have made a lot of moves this off-season hoping to improve their team before next season. Adding Trevor Cahill & Matt Harvey were signed to bolster the rotation. However, the move the Angels made Monday could go a long way to doing that as well.
On Monday the LA Angels signed former first round draft pick pitcher Alex Meyer to a minor league contract. Meyer was drafted in the first round by the Washington Nationals in 2011. The Nationals subsequently traded Meyer to the Minnesota Twins at the end of 2012. Meyer toiled in the Twins minor league system for the next four seasons battling arm injuries and they traded him to the Angels along with Ricky Nolasco at the 2016 trade deadline.
Meyer then pitched for the Angels in the last month of 2016 and the first half of the 2017 seasons until injuring his right shoulder in late July of that season. Meyer went 4-5 with a 3.74 ERA in 13 starts striking out 75 batters in 67.2 innings and holding opponents to a .197 batting average. Beside his injury Meyer’s other major issue is his control. Meyer has walked 62 batters in 95.1 innings pitched which lead to a 1.46 WHIP.
Meyer tried to return in 2018, but his right shoulder would not cooperate and he never pitched all season. The Angels made a roster move in late November and were forced to designate Alex Meyer for assignment. Meyer cleared waivers unclaimed and the Angels released him on November 26th.
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The Angels and Meyer kept in touch and on Monday worked out a deal for Meyer to return to the team. Meyer will now have a chance to go to Spring Training and compete for a roster spot if he is healthy again. This is a very low-risk move that could pay off in the long run especially if Meyer can return to the mound and be effective.
Meyer has long had ace-like stuff, but the aforementioned injuries and control issues have always seemed to derail him.
In 2017 Meyer’s last start before going on the disabled list proved to be the best of his career. Meyer went seven scoreless innings against his former team the Nationals, striking out seven batters and only giving up one hit for his fourth win of the season.
Meyer was in total command on this day and the Angels hope that he can pick up right where he left off this Spring. If Meyer can do this he may challenge for a spot in the rotation or he might even be able to earn a spot in the back end of the Angels bullpen. Pitchers who throw 95-98 miles per hour don’t grow on trees and Meyer is one of those special players who possesses this kind of arm.
As much as many people wanted the Angels to get a potential ace in free agency this off-season, the moves they have made thus far including re-signing Meyer could go a long way in asking them much more competitive in 2019. We will just have to wait and see.