Is it realistic to expect the Los Angeles Angels will sign both Trevor Bauer and Marcus Stroman, or will they need to make a choice between the two?
Other than rewatching Mike Trout highlights, one of the most exciting things for a baseball fan during the offseason is free agency. It gives teams a chance to acquire proven players without blowing up the farm system, and it gives fans a chance to wildly speculate about who their favorite team will sign.
All that begins on November 2nd, when free agency officially begins. The Angels are expected to be entrenched in the pitching market. So anytime you read a rumor about a free agent pitcher, you will most likely see the Angels linked in one way or another.
Last season, the Angels were considered a finalist for Gerrit Cole, who was the top pitcher on the market. Cole ended up signing with the Yankees for a record-breaking $324 million over 9 years. It has been said that the Angels had the next best offer, but was just shy of the $300 million threshold. The Angels are expected to once again be in the mix for the top players this offseason.
The two biggest pitching names coming up in free agency are Trevor Bauer and Marcus Stroman, both of which have already been linked to the Angels in rumors. These rumors haven’t spurred out of anywhere either. They have been fueled by both the players themselves. With Bauer making a plea to Angels fans on Twitter to convince him that the Angels are a good fit for him, and Stroman engaging Angels fans with a “you never know“, it’s clear both players are open to the idea of dawning the halo.
After firing Billy Eppler, the Angels are currently on the search for a new GM. Anytime someone new takes over a team, they will want to make a good first impression. They will most likely work hard to sign Bauer and/or Stroman to improve their team.
The Angels have a desperate need for pitching, however, this is not a niche problem for big league clubs. Every team could use upgrades to their rotation, which means that quality starting pitching comes at a premium, and that is reflected in large hauls for traded aces and large paychecks for free agents. These two players will garner high interest from virtually every club who can pay. So it is not realistic to expect that the Angels will sign both Bauer and Stroman.
So, if the Angels can only pick one, who should it be? In this potentially real hypothetical situation, I evaluate both Bauer and Stroman and decide which one will make a better fit for the team, if the Angels are forced to choose one.