The Los Angeles Angels brought some heat to the roster on Wednesday afternoon. The Angels acquired right-handed pitcher Guillermo Zuñiga from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for cash considerations. This is the latest in a series of moves the Angels have made over the last couple of weeks.
Zuñiga made his major league debut this past season with St. Louis and actually did so against the Angels. Zuñiga's first punch out came against catcher Chad Wallach, as he froze the Halos' backstop with an 86 mph breaking ball on the inside corner. Zuñiga, in that same game, struck out future Hall of Famer and Angels' icon Mike Trout on a breaking ball as well.
But Zuñiga isn't known for his off-speed stuff. The young right-hander can light up the radar gun, and typically averages 98-plus. However, he can be a bit erratic. Last season at Triple-A Memphis, Zuñiga walked 20 batters in just over 30 innings of work.
Angels trade for Cardinals reliever Guillermo Zuñiga and STL fans are up in arms
While pitching is about more than just velocity, that level of velocity is something you can't teach. The Angels fanbase is hopeful that with some mechanical tweaks, perhaps Zuñiga could turn into a reliable reliever in the back end of the Los Angeles bullpen. Though Zuñiga has a career ERA of 4.50 in the minors, some members of the Cardinals fanbase were none too pleased that St. Louis gave up on the flamethrower so quickly.
The Cardinals, after signing Keynan Middleton, had already designated Zuñiga for assignment, so if they didn't work out a trade, he likely would've been claimed off waivers.
Still, the Cardinals fanbase was not happy about the choice to DFA Zuñiga in the first place.
Several Cardinals fans cited players like Riley O'Brien, Jose Fermín, or Michael Siani as potential roster casualties they would've preferred instead of trading Zuñiga to the Angels.
The Cardinals fanbase, oftentimes referred to as the best fans in baseball (though that's debatable), have seen plenty of great players come through the Gateway City over the years. While Zuñiga might not be Josh Hader, at 25 years old and with minor-league options remaining, the Halos could always stash him down on the farm until he improves his control.
Kudos to the Perry Minasian and the Angels front office. All it cost in return were cash considerations. In a corresponding move, LA designated right-handed reliever Austin Warren for assignment. Warren made two brief appearances in 2023 and posted a 5.40 ERA.