Angels rumors: 5 AL Central relief pitcher trade targets to already start thinking about
The Los Angeles Angels are a team trying to win right now. They've made that intention very clear by holding onto Shohei Ohtani at least for now, and they should continue to try to win at the deadline if they're in postseason contention.
Right now the team stands at 21-19. They're second in the AL West and are 1.5 games outside of a playoff spot. They're right in the thick of it, and should honestly have a much better record.
One area of concern for the Angels is the bullpen. Carlos Estevez and Matt Moore are great, but as we saw last night, the Angels don't have another reliever they can really trust in high-leverage spots. That has to change if this team wants to contend. Here're five names from the worst division in baseball, the AL Central, that they should keep an eye on.
1) LA Angels should already start thinking about trading for Aroldis Chapman
Aroldis Chapman was there for everyone to sign. He signed a one-year deal worth just $3.75 million to go to Kansas City and not even close. The southpaw has had a couple of rough outings in May which have inflated his ERA, but for the most part, he's been quite good out of that Royals bullpen. Angels fans saw it firsthand when he struck out two batters in a perfect inning.
Chapman is a pitcher who thrives with his velocity, and after experiencing a dip in New York, his average fastball velocity is up from 97.5 mph last season to 99.6 mph this season. That two mph difference is huge, and has helped Chapman look much closer to the dominant reliever he once was.
Chapman has 23 strikeouts in 14.2 innings of work which is outstanding. He has yet to allow a home run this season and has even toned down the walks. Chapman has issued seven walks in 14.2 innings pitched which is a lot, but his 11.3 BB% is actually lower than his career mark of 12.2%.
The southpaw isn't in his prime anymore, but the Royals are not competing and Chapman is absolutely going to get traded barring an unexpected winning streak that catapults Kansas City into contention. The return won't be anything too insane, and Chapman could make a big difference serving as the seventh inning guy.
Something this Angels bullpen lacks is a fireballer to come in and throw 100 mph, and Chapman is that guy. The fit makes a lot of sense.