The offseason moves by the Angels put the team in a position to sign free-agent pitcher Trevor Bauer.
With less than a month before pitchers and catchers report for spring training, the Angels desperately need some help in their rotation. General Manager Perry Minasian has addressed some needs but has yet to acquire starting pitching. The transactions have been cost-effective and set the Angels up for a big splash in signing free-agent pitcher Trevor Bauer.
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The Padres added a potential Angels rotation option yesterday, trading for Pirates starter Joe Musgrove. The right-hander is under team control for two seasons, and will make $4.45 million next year. The return package San Diego sent back doesn’t even have an MLB Top 100 prospect. Musgrove was there for the taking, and the Angels missed him.
One way for Los Angeles to redeem themselves is to find a starter with the potential of Bauer. Something needs to happen soon because teams like the Padres aren’t going to wait around for the Halos to find their perfect match.
Last week, Bauer posted a video on his YouTube channel, announcing the four qualities he is looking for in a new team this offseason. It’s safe to say the Angels check off each of those boxes. MLB Insider Jon Heyman believes the Halos ‘make the most sense’ and are ‘probably’ a favorite.
Now the question to ask, is how much stock do we put into that statement by Heyman?
There have been people asking about the Mickey Callaway-Bauer relationship and how it will impact a potential signing. I had a similar answer to Heyman, and I believe both would be willing to put aside their differences to reach a goal of winning. It also helps to have a mediator like Joe Maddon on the team.
Maddon is a players’ coach, and this style as manager also makes me believe Bauer would want to play for the Angels. In his video, Bauer explained he wanted to be himself and wants a ‘partnership’ with a team that is willing to hear him out. The Zen-master approach of Maddon would undoubtably allow for this.
On top of that, Bauer is a California-native so he would be returning close to home. The writing is on the wall, so what could be holding up this deal?
It’s no secret, Bauer is looking for a record-deal reportedly around the $36 million-per-year range. The Angels might swing this, but it would put the team close to the luxury tax penalty for the 2021 season. According to Cot’s Contracts, the Halos have about $32+ million of wiggle room. Maybe Arte Moreno and the team decide to take the penalty for the season, maybe not.
The payroll will be reduced in the next two seasons when the Halos shed the contracts of Albert Pujols and Justin Upton so that might help matters.
It’s not a simple question to answer. It comes down to how much the Angels are willing to spend to improve their team and how much money to invest in one player. The nickel and dime moves thus far aren’t bad, but there needs to be other improvements if the Angels are serious about winning in 2021.
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If the organization plans to be a contender this season, it won’t make any sense to make cost-effective moves if they don’t intend to spend money on impact players. If the Angels don’t make any additions in the next few weeks because they’re focused on Bauer, they better sign him. If not, they might be in trouble.