Angels Rumors: Could Halos pursue Mets pitcher in free agency?
By Kyle Franzoni
Always on the hunt to add pitching, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim could look at Marcus Stroman as a free agent pick-up after the 2020 season.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are no strangers to hunting for pitching upgrades in the offseason. That pursuit could lead them to one of next winter’s most coveted arms; Marcus Stroman.
According to Jim Bowden of CBS Sports (in an article that is seemingly no longer available, but h/t to Bleacher Report), it is unlikely that the 29-year-old Stroman will return to the New York Mets in 2021. That will leave no shortage of teams that we be interested in the right-hander if he hits free agency, with the scribe citing the Angels as a potential match.
The Halos have dealt with countless injuries and ineffectiveness with their pitching staff over the last several years, to the point where they’ve been tied to almost every free agent arm during the Billy Eppler tenure. Needless to say, it’s not hard to draw the line from the Angels to Marcus Stroman.
Since debuting with the Blue Jays in 2014, Stroman has been worth 15.8 fWAR over 146 appearances (140 starts). He owns a lifetime record of 51-47 with a 3.76 ERA, a 3.67 FIP, and a 7.36 K/9. While his strikeout numbers don’t jump off the page, he owns a lifetime 58.6% groundball rate, which ranks 3rd among qualified starters since 2014.
Perhaps most important to the Angels is durability. Stroman’s injury history is pretty short. He tore his ACL during Spring Training in 2015 in a freak incident during bunt defense practice. He went on to pitch more than 200 innings in 2016 and 2017. Then in 2018 Stroman dealt with both shoulder fatigue and blister issue, limiting him to just 102.1 innings of work. However, in 2019 he threw 184.1 innings over 32 starts between the Blue Jays and Mets.
Of course, the Angels won’t be the only team considering Marcus Stroman. MLB Trade Rumors currently ranks him as the seventh-best free agent overall and the second-rated pitcher in the 2020-21 class. MLB.com ranks him sixth overall and second among pitchers. The former also estimates that he will likely be looking at a 4-year, $68 million deal in free agency. Trevor Bauer, Robbie Ray, James Paxton, and Mike Minor also profile as potential Angels’ targets.
For the Angels, their pursuits will all depend on what they get out of their pitchers in 2020. The team is hoping that acquisitions Dylan Bundy and Matt Andriese step up this season, while free-agent signee Julio Teheran will be counted on to lead the staff. That says nothing of Shohei Ohtani or Griffin Canning being healthy enough to not only contribute in 2020 but be counted on for 2021. Anaheim also has Andrew Heaney, Patrick Sandoval, Dillon Peters, and Felix Pena potentially in the mix for starts.
Of course, Teheran is also a potential free agent after the 2020 season. If he performs well, there is no guarantee that the Angels will be able to re-sign him. If he falls flat, the Halos may choose to pursue upgrades instead.
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Would you want to see Marcus Stroman in an Angels uniform? If not, which potential free agent would you prefer?