Angels fans across social media have been actively trying to recruit top free agent pitcher Trevor Bauer to come sign with their favorite team. However, Bauer’s price tag will no doubt be expensive and should the Angels fail to sign him, here are some other options the team could look at in bolstering their weak rotation.
Stroman is a solid 2 or 3 starter in the rotation even though he didn’t pitch in 2020 due to an injury. He’s a good first option should the Angels not land Bauer because of the Angels rotation is seriously lacking a constant number one ace in the pitching staff. Stroman will instantly be leading the Angels staff as he has the confidence and demeanor on the mound to command a rotation as he did in Toronto, even though he hasn’t pitch to that capability in the past. In 2019, Stroman had an ERA of 3.22 in 184.1 innings pitched which was deserving of an All-Star nod for his first half of the season. That first half of the season he was on the Toronto Blue Jays which his ERA was even lower at 2.96 with 99 strikeouts, he was then traded to the New York Mets where his ERA sky rocketed to a 3.77 ERA with 60 strikeouts in most of the second half when he was on the Mets.
Bringing Stroman back to the American League may benefit him because he’s already adjusted to facing those types of batters. Should the Angels make the postseason in 2021 and beyond depending on if Stroman gets a multi-year deal, he has postseason experience which no doubts helps the Angels as he can also be a leader should they need him to pitch game 1. His postseason stats don’t fair too kindly to him as he has five career postseason starts under his belt and in those starts he has a career 4.40 ERA with a career WHIP of 1.174 when he pitched in the postseason in 2015 and 2016 with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Gausman has been little bit of a journey man since coming up with the Baltimore Orioles, since coming up in 2013 he’s been on the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, and the San Francisco Giants. He has until November 11th to decide whether or not to accept the qualifying offer given to him by the Giants which would keep him on the Giants on a one-year $18.9 million dollar deal. Should he decline it, the Angels should jump on the opportunity to get him as he went under the radar in terms of performance due to the lack of success from the Giants. In 2020, he had an 3.62 ERA in 59.2 innings pitched with 79 strikeouts. One of the reasons why he may have pitched better than advertised is because his fielding independent pitching (FIP) ERA was 3.09 and also had an ERA+ of 118.
He also pitched well in 2019 despite what the main stats show as his FIP last season was 3.98 and his actual ERA was 5.72, the difference there is clearly there. He went 102.1 innings pitched last year as well with years prior going even deeper than that which is something the Angels could also benefit from. Just like Stroman, Kevin Gausman has limited postseason experience as in 2014 and 2018 where he pitched in the ALDS and ALCS for the Orioles, and the NLDS for the Atlanta Braves. He went a combined 10 innings total with an ERA of 2.70, this was all out of the bullpen however, as it seems neither team trusted him with the start. But with the Angels, he will no doubt be one of the guys trusted to start in one of the big games should the Angels get there with them. He would also be uniting with his former teammate in Dylan Bundy who found success in Anaheim after being traded, so it is possible he may find success as well.
Kluber enters free agency after being traded to the Texas Rangers in which he only made one start for the team before being injured with a tear in his right shoulder. While the Angels may need to proceed with caution due to him recovering from the injury, the team may be able to benefit from it as his free agent asking price should be down considering he’ll look for a bounce back season. From the years 2016-2018, Kluber was one of the best starting pitchers in the league as in 2017 he led the league in ERA with 2.25 and being an All-Star in each of the previous mentioned years. In 2019, he broke his right forearm on a liner to the mound, he only made 7 starts with an ERA of 5.80, so he’s definitely in need of a comeback season.
Should the Angels decide to take a chance on him and get him for a reasonable price, he would reunite with his former pitching coach, Mickey Callaway, who he had success with in Cleveland. Kluber may benefit from it as Callaway may be able to help Kluber get back to form and his usual dominant self that fans were used to seeing when he was with the Indians. The Angels were interested in Kluber before, as it was reported that the team had interest in trading for him after signing Anthony Rendon, however, the right deal never lined up. You could say the team caught a break as the Angels would’ve had to sacrifice young controllable talent for a rental and it clearly didn’t work out for the Rangers. Now that he’s a free agent, the injury could work to the Angels advantage as he needs to prove himself if he wants to test the free agent market once again, so signing him to a one or two-year deal wouldn’t be bad at all.
The Angels are in desperate need of pitching as we all know and they will once again to try to build it back up through free agency and trades should they become available. There’s no doubt that Trevor Bauer is the main target the Angels should be pursuing this offseason, however, depending on his asking price and whether the Angels want to deal with his outgoing personality, it may steer the team away from him. There are certainly other options the Angels can go towards if things align for both parties and these three starters could work well with the team. Keep in mind the Angels also have other needs in terms of a catcher and a shortstop if they don’t want to roll with what they have. So going to these options shouldn’t be surprising at all.