LA Angels: Halos missed opportunities turn into upgrades for A’s bullpen

Trevor Rosenthal (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Trevor Rosenthal (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
Los Angeles Angels
Yusmeiro Petit (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Angels fans have been waiting for owner Arte Moreno and general manager Perry Minasian to make a big splash this winter. The Halos passed on the most sought-after free-agent pitcher, instead choosing to make low-risk additions to their starting rotation. There was also hope the team would solidify their revamped bullpen with a dominant late-inning arm, but the Halos let more opportunities slip through their hands. Even worse, a division rival capitalized.

Free-agent reliever Trevor Rosenthal signed a one-year, $11 million deal with the Athletics on Thursday. The move marks a busy offseason for the A’s to revamp their bullpen following the departure of Liam Hendriks.

On Sunday, Oakland brought back Yusmeiro Petit on a one-year, $2.55 million deal and signed Sergio Romo to a one-year $2.25 million contract. Billy Beane and Co. also traded for groundball machine Adam Kolarek last week. The additions will make for a deep and talented A’s bullpen.

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A few weeks ago, Minasian said he believed the team was in a ‘decent’ spot. The Angels front office and ownership must genuinely believe that because I would find it hard to imagine these moves by another team in the AL West were not frustrating to see. No additions by the Halos, while a team they are competing with improves? That does not help your contending odds.

Maybe the Halos wanted to pass on Rosenthal for $11 million, but winning can be costly. Of all teams to pay that much for a reliever, it was the team who has embraced the Moneyball approach.

Rather than pay Rosenthal the entire $11 million, Beane opted to backload the contract. The A’s will pay $3 million this season, $3 million in 2022, and $5 million in 2023.

The Angels missed opportunities to add Yusmeiro Petit and Trevor Rosenthal to their bullpen and the Athletics have capitalized. 

What’s more frustrating to me is the Angels passing on Petit. Maybe he turned down other offers to stay in Oakland, but his price tag seemed more than affordable. I would have gladly paid $5 million for a player who has been the iron man of relievers in recent years.

2020 Statistics:

  • Trevor Rosenthal (22 games) 1.90 ERA 23.2 IP 0.845 WHIP 14.5 K/9
  • Yusmeiro Petit (26 games) 1.66 ERA 21.2 IP 1.108 WHIP 7.1 K/9

At the moment, the Angels aren’t in desperate need of bullpen help, but adding a reliable arm wouldn’t hurt.

Minasian traded for closer Raisel Iglesias early in the offseason. Since then, the team has signed Alex Claudio, Junior Guerra (minor-league), and traded for Aaron Slegers.

If the Angels add more to their bullpen, there are suitable reliever options on the market to choose from, like Roberto Osuna, Jeremy Jeffress, and Tyler Clippard.

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We’ve seen countermoves all offseason from division rivals like the Padres and Dodgers. Now the A’s have taken advantage of the other four teams in the AL West falling asleep.

The recent moves from Oakland should spark urgency in the Angels ownership and front office. If not, I think it says a lot about what the expectations are for 2021.