Angels rumors: 5 AL Central relief pitcher trade targets to already start thinking about

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5) LA Angels should already start thinking about trading for Alex Lange

This is easily the least likely target for the Angels to acquire, but Alex Lange is someone they should keep an eye on. He has settled into the Tigers' closer role and has had a great start to his season. The right-hander has allowed just two runs in 16 innings of work (1.13 ERA) and has converted six save opportunities in seven attempts.

Lange has not allowed a run in his last 13 appearances. He's gone 12.1 innings, allowing just five hits and four walks with 21 strikeouts in that span.

The talented right-hander is armed with one of the best curveballs in the game. He's held hitters to a .184 average with a .164 xBA on that pitch this season, a pitch he uses 56.8% of the time. Last season he held opponents to a .190 average with a .174 xBA with just two home runs allowed with that pitch. He used it 48.8% of the time last season. Lange's curveball, sinker, and changeup are three really effective pitches.

Lange might be new to the closer role, but he's not new to high leverage. Last season he racked up 21 holds which was tied for 18th in the league, but was just a couple shy of the top-ten. He was used very heavily by A.J. Hinch as his 71 appearances tied for fifth in all of baseball, and he more often than not was successful.

The reason I believe Lange is much more unlikely to be acquired by the Angels is his contract situation. Lange doesn't even start arbitration until the 2025 season, so he won't reach free agency until 2027 or 2028 at the earliest. This makes the Tigers less likely to deal him, however, with Lange being 27-years-old and the Tigers not planning on competing, it shouldn't be completely ruled out. The Angels would have to give up a lot, probably more than they'd be comfortable with, but it is important for this team to win right now.

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