LA Angels: Playing Friend, Marry, Kick with Free Agent Pitchers
The LA Angels have a multitude of needs this offseason, but most of all, they need starting pitching.
And for that, we’ll be playing “Friend, Marry, Kick” with three free agent pitchers the LA Angels could possibly pursue. The point of this game is to look at three players and choose one to friend, meaning to sign them to a short-term deal. Then one pitcher to marry, AKA a long-term agreement between the club and player. Finally, kick, which means kick the negotiations with this pitcher out the window.
The three pitchers we’ll be looking at? Arguably the best three in the market: Gerrit Cole, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Madison Bumgarner.
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Friend: Madison Bumgarner
I’m a huge fan of a Bumgarner deal this offseason, but understand why some others may be more tentative at the possibility of signing. He’s on the wrong side of 30 now, and is coming off some injury-plagued years.
He’s also had a high workload thus far in his career due to deep postseason runs, meaning he could start declining earlier than others.
However, Bumgarner showed this year he’s just as good as he’s ever been in the regular season. That’s what makes him the perfect friend for the Angels this offseason. While signing him to a four or five-year deal may prove to be risky, a two or three-year deal would be perfect for the team. It would also allow Bumgarner to hit free agency one more tome in his early-30’s, giving him one more chance to cash in.
Marry: Gerrit Cole
Did you expect anyone else? Anyone and everyone who writers about, watches, or covers baseball knows the Angels are going to be one of the biggest potential suitors for Cole this winter. The hometown kid may be coming off a Cy Young season as he enters free agency, and he won’t be cheap. It wouldn’t be surprising if Cole is the highest paid pitcher ever in three months. The Angels have never given a six-figure deal to a pitcher, and would have to break that fact (twice over) if they wanted to sign Cole.
In terms of what he is on the mound, the numbers speak for themselves. He’s the best pitcher in the MLB right now, and each and every one of his starts have been must-see baseball this year.
Kick: Hyun-Jin Ryu
If there’s one thing I’m worried about the Angels doing this offseason, it’s giving big money to Ryu. If his price was lower than that of an elite pitcher, that’d be a wise investment for any team. However, with such a limited market on pitching this offseason, a bidding war will almost certainly make Ryu one of the more overpaid pitchers in baseball.
While his season was still an overall success, Ryu has now shown multiple times he can’t handle a full workload over the course of a season. The Angels need dependable arms, which just makes Ryu an awkward fit for the team going into 2020.