Time to Choose
Now is the time for every baseball fan’s favorite offseason activity: speculation. At the beginning of this article I said that this the goal of this exercise was to be able to choose which of the top free agent pitchers the Angels should sign; Trevor Bauer or Marcus Stroman. If I were GM, and had to choose between the two, I would sign Stroman.
This may come as a surprise to many Angels fans, but ultimately the choice comes down to financials. With Bauer fresh off a dominating season, posting a sub-2 ERA and sub-1 WHIP, and potentially set to collect his first Cy Young award, Bauer’s value will most likely never be as high as it is right now. As I’ve said before, with a relatively thin free agent starting pitcher class, desperate teams will be willing to overpay for Bauer, and he would be a fool to stick to a one-year deal. While Bauer would be a welcome addition to the team, the Angels should be hesitant to hand out long-term-high-pay contracts, especially considering how Pujols and Upton’s contract have weighed down the team.
If Bauer does decide to stick to his original one-year pledge, it is all the more reason to go a different direction. It is true that the Angels should do everything they can to ‘go for it’ in 2021, but the team is also built to compete for multiple years. With Trout and Rendon locked up for a long time, the Angels are built to be in a position to compete for multiple years. They should make moves that reflect that.
Although Stroman’s year off will most likely not impact his value, he will definitely come at a cheaper price-tag than Bauer. If signing Stroman means more flexibility to sign a middle infielder and additional arms to bolster the bullpen, that would be a no brainer.
With that being said, Stroman comes at a larger risk than Bauer, considering his year off. With that being said, Stroman has always played with a chip on his shoulder. Being 5’7, he has used that as a driving force throughout his career, even centering his brand Height Doesn’t Measure Heart around it. This year off will be another chip on his shoulder. In the coming weeks and months, I won’t be the only person who uses the year off as an excuse for hesitation, and Stroman will most likely see that. I believe he will be as motivated as ever to bounce-back and prove he is still a dominating force.
"Despite a tough season, the 2020 Angels had their bright spots"
Ultimately, the decision is in the hands of the Angels’ future GM. If they instead choose to go with Bauer, I will be the first one to celebrate it. I believe the Angels should use the Stroman signing to also address some other holes, but a Bauer signing would drastically improve the team and hopefully lead them to the playoffs.