Angels sign injured reliever as they plan for future bullpen depth

LA made a pretty sneaky move to add a bullpen arm...but don't expect to see him anytime soon.
Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

For the Los Angeles Angels -- and every team around the league, for that matter -- making moves that are geared towards the future is nothing new. Rebuilding teams trade proven big league players for prospect packages all the time, and teams across the league are constantly combing the minor-league free agent player pool, as well as the Rule 5 Draft, for moves that may not truly pay dividends for years.

However, signing or trading for injured players has always been very dicey. It definitely happens often, with the Braves signing Kirby Yates a couple years ago and Tyler Mahle landing with the Rangers this past offseason being recent examples. That said, a lot of these sorts of deals don't work out particularly well, as a guy often isn't the same coming back from whatever injury they had (stay tuned on Brandon Woodruff).

That said, minor league deals are a LOT less risky than major league ones, and the Angels decided to try and build some future bullpen depth when they inked injured reliever Angel Felipe to a MiLB deal this week.

Angels latest signing could signal LA making a push in 2025

It is important to note here that one shouldn't oversell this move. Felipe is an interesting arm that misses bats when he is healthy, but he also had command issues before he got hurt, posted a 4.20 ERA in 14 appearances with Oakland last year, and has a career 4.65 ERA in the minor leagues. If you are hoping that LA just found their future shutdown closer, it may be best to not put money on that.

However, it is still a bit of a curious signing at this point on the calendar. Felipe is recovering from Tommy John surgery that he had just a month ago, so he isn't going to factor into the 2024 plans at all and probably won't be ready for the start of the 2025 season. Every team takes cheap fliers on guys, but could this be a sign that the Angels are already trying to get their ducks in a row for a 2025 push?

The short answer is no. It is genuinely good news that general manager Perry Minasian and the Angels' front office is planning for the future a bit. However, this is still just a minor league deal for a fringe pitcher and isn't a signal at all that the Angels could push spending higher and make a move. Until Arte Moreno actually takes the restrictions off of Minasian and co. and lets them go wild, including allowing them to build a real and durable pitching staff, nothing will change. Only believe it when you see it.

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