Angels take massive gamble, sign Zach Plesac in first post-Ohtani signing

The Angels make a decent depth addition by signing Zach Plesac.
Apr 22, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Zach Plesac (34) reacts in
Apr 22, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Zach Plesac (34) reacts in / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels have had a very quiet offseason, showing no plan following the departure of Shohei Ohtani. They've watched the Dodgers dominate the offseason and several potential targets fly off the board only to do nothing but sign three relievers to cheap one-year deals.

The relievers signed with the Angels before Ohtani made his decision, so the team went three weeks without signing a single player to a MLB deal. That appears to have changed, as the Angels are close to an agreement with Zach Plesac according to Robert Murray of FanSided. The terms of the deal are unknown as of now, but this does appear to be a MLB deal.

Angels continue to have bizarre offseason by signing Zach Plesac

If the Angels had acquired Zach Plesac in 2019, this would've been a move to get very excited about. The right-hander had a 3.81 ERA in 21 starts and 115.2 innings pitched in his rookie year, looking like yet another promising arm the Guardians would have for years to come. He even pitched a four-hit shutout at Angel Stadium that season.

He continued to impress the following season, posting a 2.28 ERA in eight starts in the shortened season, but the promising year was strained a bit by Plesac violating the COVID protocols, causing the team to send him and Mike Clevinger down to their alternate site.

He'd return in September of that season and pitch pretty well, but he never quite pitched to that level again with Cleveland. He struggled in 2021 and 2022, and then wound up posting a 7.59 ERA in five starts for Cleveland this season before being sent down to the minors. He had an ERA over 6.00 in 19 appearances for AAA Columbus, and was eventually DFA'd by the Guardians. He'd clear waivers and get outrighted back to AAA. Plesac elected free agency after the year and has now appeared to have signed with the Angels.

The Angels are taking a gamble here with Plesac, a pitcher who has struck out just 18.4% of the batters he's faced in his MLB career and who hasn't been an effective starting pitcher since the shortened season. They hope he can show flashes of the once-promising pitcher, but it's hard to expect that to happen.

It's worth noting that Plesac does have a pair of minor league options, so there's a good chance he begins the year in the minors and is just a depth signing. The fact that they gave him a MLB deal, however, opens the door to the possibility of him making the team out of Spring Training.