The LA Angels love a good bargain… sometimes enough to suspend their belief. A solid American League Closer who posted sub 3 ERA’s in 5 consecutive seasons for 8.5 million bucks? Where do I sign? Here, on the dotted line?
For the LA Angels Cody Allen, the best magic tricks are typically illusions wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses. The suspension of belief in a mindless moment of awe. It seemed like a good idea. Of course, the red flag was in 2018, when the Indians let him walk after he had a ballooning 4.70 earned run average to accompany giving up a career high 35 runs in the process.
Enter 2019, where Cody Allen has already given up 16 runs, matching his cumulative total the entire 2014 campaign,in June. His ERA is now at a less than pedestrian 6.26. These factors snowballed as Allen had finally seemed to be finding a role, right when he gave up 4 runs and the Angels said… DUDE. The suspension of belief had waned.
As the smoke cleared, the Angels also saw Ty Buttrey and Hansel Robles in their bullpen to lean on. Add the impending return of injured closer Keynan Middleton, and it’s easy to see why they chose to cut bait.
The official announcement from the Angels PR on twitter
The Angels called up Salt Lake’s Taylor Cole to help stop the bleeding, handing him an assortment of gauze and other first aid on his way into the bullpen. Okay, probably not. But with returns looming for position studs Andrelton Simmons and Justin Upton, the Angels will soon be forced with some tough decisions. More substance and less magic.
Goodwin and Puello have filled in very well for Upton in Left Field, as have Rengifo and Tovar for Simba in the Infield. The lowest common denominator of issues at that moment, was Allen. He was also the easiest to seamlessly replace without affecting team depth.
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Allen was an illusion. Still only 30 years old and a guy with significant experience being successful late in games against many teams that the Angels play often. He was a dangling cherry for less money than comparable players for a team that did not realize they had two emerging studs like Buttrey and Robles ready to roll.
In addition Justin Anderson has been promising, and the reworked spot starter/reliever Cam Bedrosian is finally making some progress in a less pressure-filled role.
With others like J.C. Ramirez on the IL, rookies Canning and Suarez chomping at the bit for opportunities, and team favorites like Noe Ramirez eating innings like an angelic Pac-Man, Allen’s margin for error had run out. Felix Pena has been filling in admirably, but really belong in the bullpen as well. Luke Bard hasn’t been amazing, but better than Allen… John Curtiss, Dillon Peters, Luis Garcia… are all in similar situations on the borderline of being designated or optioned too.
Maybe Cody Allen can get a bite from a team like Minnesota who wanted him prior to his Angels tenure? The Twins are a team still looking for depth and injury coverage at the back-end. It’s hard to imagine him walking in somewhere as a closer, but perhaps Cleveland might feel like home, or another suitor in his former AL Central Division.
It wasn’t always smoke and mirrors with Cody Allen. Hopefully he can find a way to capture the awe again before his MLB days disappear. Good luck Cody!