Alex Wood is the Free Agent Starter the LA Angels Need

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The LA Angels lost out on all the big name pitchers in free agency, but maybe they can find a diamond in the rough with Alex Wood.

While LA Angels fans probably aren’t keen on the idea of a one-year “prove it” deal after last season’s Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill debacle, this one may be worth exploring. Despite an extremely poor 2019 season, Alex Wood has the pedigree as well as the track record that makes him worth signing to a deal.

Let’s talk about 2019 first. After being traded to the Reds, the southpaw started just seven games due to lower back issues sidelining him for much of the year. He posted a 5.80 ERA for the season, and hit free agency with a lot of question marks.

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However, if Wood is fully healthy, there’s no reason to believe he can’t return to the version of himself he was prior to his stint in Cincinnati.

A back injury is going to change someone’s entire delivery, and that issue is probably a direct cause of his poor numbers for the season.

Before last season, Wood had a career ERA of 3.29 as a member of the Dodgers and Atlanta. While he hasn’t been the most durable pitcher in the world, Wood has the resume of being a phenomenal arm for the middle of a rotation, and would likely slot in as the Angels’ #3 pitcher come 2020.

While there’s some risk in signing Wood due to the aforementioned injuries, there isn’t much left for the Angels to do in free agency. They traded away Zack Cozart’s salary, and have yet to really use that extra money to acquire players. Anthony Rendon and Julio Teheran would’ve been affordable anyway, so the Angels have the room to go out and buy-in on a bounce back candidate like Wood.

And in terms of the likelihood a bounce back, I feel pretty strong Wood will regain his form in 2020. A full offseason to get healthy will help, and if the Angels can stick him into a six-man rotation, that’s all the better. His fit is natural as a lefty, and the Angels should have faith he’ll be back healthy in 2020.

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While he isn’t the Gerrit Cole we all dreamed of, Alex Wood has put together better seasons than anyone on the current Angels roster, and would be a cheap arm with extremely high potential as the Angels look to get back to the postseason for the first time since 2014.