One of the Angels’ biggest problems this past season was with their pitching staff and as we head into winter, there are multiple ways they can improve it. The more obvious route would be to improve the starting rotation given that the team could not rely on many starters outside of Dylan Bundy in 2020, but the bullpen could be a more cost-effective solution to this problem.
The starting pitching free agency market is poised to be a fairly dull one and the trade market seems to be on the verge of following suit. However, in recent days, multiple back-end relievers have been declined their team options and have entered the free agency pool. This obviously bodes well for the Angels this winter as they look for any way possible to supplement their roster.
Former Indians closer Brad Hand, former Reliever of the Year Liam Hendriks, and former Astros reliever Roberto Osuna have all seen their options get declined for one reason or another. The Angels could realistically look to land one of them at the minimum.
When you have an offensive core with as much firepower as the Angels possess, addressing areas of weakness is a must — and it all starts here with the pitching staff.
The Angels ranked 17th in bullpen ERA across the sport in 2020, per Fangraphs. While that isn’t necessarily a pedestrian mark, there has historically been a trend in baseball that pits the best bullpens in baseball amongst the playoff contenders and the medicore bullpens sitting at home in October.
Let’s take a look at four realistic options for the Angels for the 2021 season and beyond. While this list could certainly be a lot longer than five arms, getting just one could be a huge boon for a staff that is begging for help.