The LA Angels had failed to upgrade their bullpen in any major way this offseason. However, that all changed Thursday night as the team reportedly reeled in Cody Allen.
Per reports, the LA Angels agreed to a one-year deal with Allen, making him the fifth free agent signing they have made for their big league roster. The financial side of the deal is yet to be announced, but as Jeff Passan of ESPN noted, Allen was looking for roughly $9 million.
The big factor of this deal was Allen’s desire to be a closer in 2019. It is well-known the Angels’ bullpen needed help, and the biggest hole was a solid closer, especially after the team made the confusing decision to end their time with Blake Parker.
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Up to this point, Cody Allen has spent his entire career in Cleveland. He has been an extremely consistent pitcher, making at least 67 appearances and pitching at least 67 innings in each of the last six years. And while his 2018 ERA shot up to 4.70, Allen had never had an ERA above three since 2012, his rookie year.
Obviously, Allen is a bounce back candidate for next year. Moving to a ballpark such as The Big A will help, and he will be able to focus on solely being the closer heading into 2019. With 149 career saves (at an 86.6% success rate), Allen has proven himself as someone who can shut down hitters to end games.
Allen’s numbers in 2018 can also be misleading, as Taylor Blake Ward points out two miserable outings ballooned an otherwise solid ERA. With a large percentage of his appearances ending without him allowing a run, Allen is well set up for a year where he proves he still has the potential and skill he showed in every other year of his career.https://twitter.com/TaylorBlakeWard/status/1086129202141704193
There were also murmurs of a potential option for 2020, but nothing is guaranteed. Allen is likely looking for a season’s worth of solid stats and closing, while the Angels, of course, are looking to contend and show Mike Trout they are capable of doing so before his 2020 free agency.
While Allen will have the right to the closer job, nothing will be guaranteed. With Keynan Middleton due to return in the summer from TJ surgery, this gives the Angels a great insurance option if Middleton’s rehab does stall. And if he is able to come back healthy, the Middleton-Allen duo could be one of the best punches in the MLB next season.