Former Major League starting pitcher Dan Straily is looking to make a comeback after a dominant season in the KBO. Could the Halos be a good fit?
Dan Straily is an interesting case. After posting a 29-23 record with a 4.03 ERA, 1.256 WHIP, and 7.8 K/9 over three seasons with the Reds and the Marlins, he had a disastrous season with the Orioles in 2019, where he compiled a record of 2-4, a 9.82 ERA, and a 1.993 WHIP over only 8 starts and 6 relief appearances. A completely serviceable starter became forgotten after just 47.2 bad innings.
He’s made us remember him again. In what has turned out to be a brilliant career decision, following his rough year with the Orioles, he signed a one-year/$800,000 deal with the Lotte Giants of the KBO. In his first and potentially only season in the league, he finished second with an ERA of 2.50. Along the way, he also put up a record of 15-4, a 1.022 WHIP, and a 9.5 K/9.
"“I came here with the utmost respect for the league and the players, and never once thought I could just walk in here and dominate. I knew I really has to work hard for it. I feel like some guys might feel like you can just show up here and succeed. But you have to really adjust your game and learn the hitters in any league you’re playing, and that’s no different in the KBO.”"
Straily entered the league humble. In fact, he even sought out advice from younger players on his team. During spring training, he asked his 25-year-old teammate Park Se-Woong to teach him his curveball. Advice he credits as a big reason for his stellar performance.
His performance has impressed Lotte enough that they want to bring him back next season, however, he has also caught the eye of several MLB clubs. That this time, the publically known teams are the Giants, Angels, and Reds.
Would someone like Straily be a good fit on the Angels? Of course, they are in desperate need for starting pitching, but can they afford to take a risk on a bounceback candidate?
In Perry Minasian’s first press conference as the newly hired general manager, he praised the team’s pitching coaches.
"“I think they’ve made people better in their short time here, and there will be opportunities to grab some arms that maybe ahve struggled in different places.” – Minasian on pitching coach Mickey Callaway and bullpen coach Matt Wise."
A quote like this makes me believe the Angels are seriously considering signing an arm like Straily. They have used this strategy in the past with varying degrees of success. While sometimes they get lucky with the likes of Dylan Bundy, a majority of the time it doesn’t work out for the best, a few examples include Matt Harvey, Cody Allen, Julio Teheran, and Trevor Cahill. In my opinion, where the Angels went wrong in the past was relying on the low-cost-low-risk bounceback/breakout candidates, instead of having them as a potential bonus.
With the Angels set to make a big splash this offseason, potentially signing a top free agent starting pitcher or trading for one, the opportunity to sign Straily is intriguing. An addition of a top arm to the already solid core of Bundy, Andrew Heaney, and Griffin Canning, will make a Straily signing even lower risk. If he doesn’t duplicate his KBO success or even return to his ’16-’18 years, the Angels will have another solid option in Jaime Barria to replace him.
Straily could prove to be a solid asset to any team that signs him. If the Angels sign him and he turns him a solid year, Minasian will look like a hero in his first year, and he would be a fool to squander this opportunity.