Could Angels pitchers be non-tender candidates due to finances?

Billy Eppler, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Billy Eppler, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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Angels, Andrew Heaney
Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Angels Non-Tender Candidate – Andrew Heaney

There may be no better example of a player on the bubble than Andrew Heaney.

The Angels’ lefty has been with the organization since December 2014 and been a part of the major league roster since June 2015. He never looked back after going 6-4 with a 3.49 ERA, a 3.73 FIP, and a 6.6 K/9 over 18 starts and 105.2 innings of work.

However, the results have been mixed since. Heaney made only a single start in 2016 after feeling elbow discomfort and ultimately saw his season end with Tommy John surgery. As he waited until July to undergo the procedure, it cost him most of 2017 as well, with the lefty only making five starts.

Heaney would return to the Angels in 2018 and make 30 starts for the first time in his career and the results were encouraging. Over 180 innings of work, Heaney went 9-10 with a 4.15 ERA, a 3.99 FIP, and a 9.0 K/9. However, that goodwill would be lost in 2019, when further elbow discomfort limited him to 18 starts of 4.91/4.63/11.1 work.

The ongoing injury concerns surrounding the Angels’ pitching staff led the team to pursue outside additions to the team. The additions of Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran to the rotation, and the likely returns of Shohei Ohtani and Griffin Canning, leave only one spot in the rotation up for grabs. Joe Maddon could look at that spot as a potential opener situation, with another offseason acquisition Matt Andriese, or even piggy-back Heaney if he doesn’t win the spot outright. Given his performance before the shutdown of spring training (seven runs, six earned over 7.2 innings), may not inspire much confidence there.

With a salary of $4.3 million entering 2020 (before pay cuts), Heaney has only one more season of arbitration eligibility after this season. Given his past performance and health history, what he can do with the 2020 season will go a long way toward whether the Angels opt to tender him for the 2021 season.

Even after an injury-shortened 2019 season, Heaney saw an increase of $900k, which would put him at $5.2 million for 2021 if applied similarly. That may be tough for the Angels to swallow if he continues to struggle with health and performance in 2020.