Last offseason, the Los Angeles Angels made a concerted effort to try and improve what was a horrendous bullpen. They did succeed in their quest, but not to the level we had hoped.
The Angels brought Raisel Iglesias back on a massive deal. They signed veterans Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera who were both coming off of superb seasons. All three underperformed and Iglesias didn't even make it past the trade deadline.
The state of the Angels bullpen is still a cause for some concern.
As of now, the Angels bullpen is for the most part set. Jimmy Herget is coming off of a fantastic season out of nowhere, he's going to be a guy in the back end. Carlos Estevez, a new signee will join him and would be my pick to be the closer on Opening Day.
Herget and Estevez are both coming off of good seasons but don't have the longest track records of success. Estevez, I'm a believer in with his stuff and his road stats. Coors Field was never kind to this right-hander, he should flourish in a new environment. As for Herget, I'm not as convinced. Remember, he was brought in on a minor league deal before turning into the best reliever on the team and saving games in September. He can be good, and I expect him to be good. It's just hard to rely on him with the lack of a track record.
Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera were both brought in to be key pieces in the Angels bullpen. Neither pitcher was terrible, but they both took considerable steps back from the pitchers they were in 2021. With both of them being older, it's hard to envision them being any better than they were in 2022. They're decent middle-relief options, I wouldn't want them pitching late in games.
Guys like Andrew Wantz, Jose Quijada, and Jaime Barria are all coming off of solid seasons but like Herget, lack much of a track record. Quijada has a big control problem and Barria's advanced numbers suggest regression is on the way.
The Angels bullpen was slightly below average in 2022. They ranked 18th in ERA, 11th in WHIP, and 25th in K/9. These numbers should improve with the Estevez addition, but I'm concerned that he isn't enough.
Free agents like Michael Fulmer and Andrew Chafin remain available for the Angels to try and sign. If those guys are too expensive, signing a different veteran, perhaps even Zack Britton would make sense. The Angels need one more arm to make me trust that this bullpen is good enough for where they want to go.