Angels’ front office needs to fix the bullpen now to save Ron Washington from himself

Perry Minasian and co. need to overhaul the Angels' bullpen, because how Washington is using this subpar group definitely isn't working.
New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels
New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

It is well-established at this point that the Los Angeles Angels' bullpen is not very good in 2024. Their relief corps ranks at or near the bottom in all of baseball in ERA, WAR, and FIP, which is definitely not what you want to see. This passes the eye test, and time and time again, the Angels have lost a lot of close games because a reliever (if not more than one) has a bad night and things get out of hand late.

However, this also hasn't strictly been a personnel problem despite guys just not being good enough. Manager Ron Washington's tendencies when it comes to how he handles the bullpen does not match up well with the Angels' current bullpen composition, and that means changes just have to happen (and soon).

Perry Minasian needs to add a lot of bullpen depth at the deadline for the Angels to stand a chance

Now, saying the Angels need more and better bullpen arms isn't exactly groundbreaking analysis. However, LA's relief woes this season have been uniquely hurt over and over again by the fact that Washington seems to trust the same relievers in the same situations despite the fact that those choices are just flat out not working in those spots.

Adam Cimber, Matt Moore, and Luis Garcia have been among the Angels' most used relievers in 2024 and are very often brought in during tight games in the sixth or seventh innings, and they very often fail to put up clean innings (if they don't blow the game entirely). It is also maddening that the Angels' best reliever this season is Hunter Strickland, and Washington seems to love to use him to sometimes only get a single out.

Making matters worse, Washington clearly doesn't trust his bullpen as a whole, and that has meant he is leaving the Angels' starters in games longer than he should. While the rotation has been pretty good lately outside of the recently demoted Reid Detmers, LA's starters have thrown the seventh most innings in MLB in 2024, and that means there's a good chance they are going to be gassed in the second half of the season unless Washington can trust going to his bullpen more often.

Luckily, we're already seeing some changes that should help. Flamethrower Ben Joyce was called up last week, and assuming he can consistently throw strikes, he is an arm that the Angels should be able to trust and use in high-leverage spots. Now, it is on the front office to give Washington even more and better arms to work with, because his strategy for how he is using the guys he's got definitely isn't working.

Their trade deadline re-tool should focus on parting with the guys they don't need and introducing new fits that will help the bullpen take shape for 2025.

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