LA Angels Black Friday: Three Value Free Agency Deals to Make
With Thanksgiving having passed, Black Friday has officially begun and these three players could wind up being value deals for the LA Angels as they look to build their roster this winter.
While the LA Angels’ biggest focus will be on signing an ace (or two) to lead their rotation, they’ll still need to fill out their roster around their superstars. They have a pretty solid roster, but there’s room for improvement in a few departments, and these players could be cheap upgrades for Joe Maddon in 2020.
Martin Maldonado, Catcher
The former Angels catcher once again hits free agency, and the Halos are in desperate need of an upgrade at catcher. Max Stassi is one of the worst offensive players in baseball, and Kevan Smith’s solid offense is negated by his lack of defense.
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Martin Maldonado is a happy medium between the two. He is an elite game manager and exceptional defensive catcher. He is also a fine bat to have at the bottom of the order, especially when his defense is taken into consideration.
A side note here: Maldonado and Shohei Ohtani has a great relationship in 2018. Additionally, Maldonado was Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher in Houston. So do with that, what you will.
Collin McHugh, Reliever
Another former Astros player, and I swear it isn’t intentional. McHugh hasn’t been an elite reliever in years past, one look at his numbers will tell you that. However, he has incredible value due to his ability to possibly rejoin a rotation in 2020.
McHugh has an amazing combination of a fastball and curveball. He has the ability to start games, whether as an opener (which Maddon may or may not use as much as Eppler did in 2019), or an actual starter. If McHugh struggles as a starter like he has in the past, he’s a fine option for long relief out of the bullpen.
Julio Teheran, Starting Pitcher
Now, both McHugh and Maldonado will sign deals where they earn seven digits each year. That isn’t true for Julio Teheran, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be an extremely valuable deal for whichever team signs him.
Teheran was, for some reason, released by the Braves. They declined his $12 million option after the season, which seems very odd.
Teheran has a career 3.67 ERA, is still 28-years old, and isn’t seen in the same class as the Zack Wheeler’s of the world. He will make substantially less money than Wheeler despite posting similar stats and remaining healthy throughout his career (he has made at least 30 starts every year of his career).
So while the Angels may need to pay Teheran somewhere between $12-15 million a year, his production make it seem like the Angels committed highway robbery by signing him at that number.
And that’s exactly the type of move the Angels need to make if they hope to rebuild this rotation and make a run at the playoffs in 2020.