The Los Angeles Angels have a gaping hole at the front of their rotation. Even if Shohei Ohtani returns to the Angels, he cannot pitch in 2024. The Angels already had a subpar rotation with Ohtani, and without him, it looks pretty brutal.
Pitchers like Reid Detmers, Patrick Sandoval, and Griffin Canning are fine in the middle of a rotation, but putting them at the top makes this staff incredibly weak. Fortunately, there are several free agents that'd make a big difference available this offseason even with Aaron Nola and Sonny Gray off the board. One of those pitchers is Blake Snell who Mark Feinsand of MLB.com believes the Angels have "serious interest" in.
LA Angels could seriously pursue Blake Snell to headline the 2024 starting rotation
"Although the Angels are holding out hope that they’ll be able to re-sign Shohei Ohtani, the two-way superstar apparently isn’t the only top free agent the team is eyeing.- Mark Feinsand - MLB.com
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand has heard the Halos are “very interested” in Snell.
It's unclear as to whether the Angels would consider signing both Snell and Ohtani, but seeing them linked to a big-time free agent in the event that Ohtani leaves is definitely a good sign. Snell is a necessity either way.
The southpaw won the NL Cy Young award in 2023, posting a league-leading 2.25 ERA in 32 starts. As the year progressed he continued to improve, and in his final 23 starts he was virtually unhittable, as his 1.20 ERA in those outings would suggest.
Signing Snell coming off the best stretch of his career is certainly cause for concern, as he does come with his short comings. Snell led the league with 99 walks issued in 180 innings pitched. Walks don't hurt if the pitcher doesn't allow hits, and in 2023 Snell didn't, but that could easily change course in 2024. Opponents had a .256 BAbip against him, which is 44 points below the league average of .300.
Snell's command-lapses often led to shorter outings. Despite leading the league in ERA and making 32 starts he was tied for 24th in innings pitched. Reid Detmers made four fewer starts and was nowhere near as good as Snell, yet he had 148.2 innings pitched. Not a huge difference for someone who had four fewer starts and an ERA over two runs higher.
Snell is turning 31 in December and has had an up-and-down career. He's going to earn well over $100 million, and will be getting a contract that will keep him in the same uniform for at least five or six years, if not more. It's quite the gamble to give to an inconsistent pitcher coming off a Cy Young.
It remains to be seen whether the Angels would swim in those expensive waters, but seeing them linked to a high-priced free agent is good news, even if it's one with as many red flags as Snell.