2 free agent starting pitchers the LA Angels need to sign right when the lockout ends

Oct 1, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw is a starter that the LA Angels should be pursuing.
Oct 1, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw is a starter that the LA Angels should be pursuing. / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Once this MLB Lockout finally ends, the LA Angels need to go after the last two major-name starting pitchers on the free agent market; Clayton Kershaw and Carlos Rodon.

Of course, one could insert Zack Greinke into that conversation due to his sturdy durability and history of success. He's not interested in going to an AL team, however, but both Kershaw and Rodon are on the table.

As for Rodon, the Angels have already been rumored to be pursuing the 2021 All-Star. As for Kershaw, rumors haven't suggested that he's on his way to the Angels, but he'd certainly fit with the team.

Clayton Kershaw or Carlos Rodon need to be signed by the LA Angels as soon as the MLB Lockout ends.

Acquiring both Clayton Kershaw and Carlos Rodon would likely be too expensive for the LA Angels, but one of them is certainly possible. After all, neither has a ton of leverage with both their teams not extending qualifying offers to them.

As for Rodon, former MLB GM and current MLB analyst for The Athletic Jim Bowden has Rodon going for a similar deal to what we paid Noah Syndergaard if he goes for just one year. That would absolutely be worth it, as there wouldn't be any long-term risk, and Rodon did finish the season healthy at the end of the regular season and the playoffs.

And it was a remarkable year. The All-Star finished in the top five in AL Cy Young voting due to his 2.37 ERA, 0.957 WHIP, and 183 ERA+. He allowed just a .189 batting average, proving just how insane he was last year when healthy.

Striking out 12.6 batters per nine innings, we got to see just how high Rodon's ceiling is, and it's 100% worth spending around $21 million on. Allowing just 6.2 hits per nine frames, Rodon also surrendered just 0.9 home runs per nine innings. While Rodon has had durability issues in the past, nobody on this free agent market (even the starters already signed) has upside that's all that higher than what Rodon showed to be his upside in 2021.

Not even Kershaw at this stage of his career. Kershaw is still very productive, however, as the former NL MVP posted a solid 3.55 ERA and 3.00 FIP this past season. He'd still be the No. 2 starting pitcher on the Halos, and struck out the most hitters per nine innings (10.7) that he has since 2015 in 2021.

He still walks almost nobody, averaging just 1.6 walks per nine innings this season, and recorded a solid 115 ERA+. He'll have a full offseason to recover from injury, and his pedigree is too strong to ignore when he's available this offseason. Sure, he's not going to go for a bargain due to that history, but Bowden expects him to sign a one-year deal "that’s loaded with incentives based on innings pitched and games started."

Wouldn't that be pretty favorable for the Angels if they choose to do that? They get one of the greatest pitchers of all time, who may not be what he used to be but is still darn good, and they wouldn't have to guarantee him the money he wants unless he stays healthy. I'll take that for a three-time NL Cy Young winner.

Kershaw has so much experience pitching at the highest level in the Big Leagues, and that would be amazing for all the young arms we're going to have up on our roster to be around. Kershaw has pitched his whole career in LA, so the adjustment wouldn't be much for him. At the VERY least the Halos would have him as the best mentor a young pitcher can ask for.

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Going after one of these guys would be an aggressive move that Arte Moreno and the Angels have the money to make.