The Los Angeles Angels made several massive moves at or around the 2023 trade deadline, but none were bigger than the trade that landed the team Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. The Angels sent each of their top two prospects to the White Sox in the trade, and fortified two weaknesses with one trade. At least that's what they had thought.
Giolito wound up being a disaster in Anaheim, posting an ERA approaching 7.00 and departing just one month later. For him being the focal point of the deal, the trade was obviously a massive failure. However, Lopez did do his best to make it a bit better.
The right-hander had a 2.77 ERA in 13 appearances for the Angels, looking awfully impressive at times with his high-velocity fastball and his wicked slider. Lopez even pitched 1.2 scoreless innings for the Angels in Atlanta, striking out three in the outing including NL MVP Ronald Acuna Jr. in dominant fashion.
Lopez was one bright spot from a horrific trade deadline, but suffered the same fate as Giolito and several others as he was waived when the team was out of postseason contention and landed with Cleveland. Now, Lopez finds another new home, this time with Atlanta.
Former LA Angels reliever signs three-year deal to join the Atlanta Braves
Lopez felt like a pretty realistic Angels target for a team that clearly likes him and needs bullpen help. Outside of Carlos Estevez, the Angels lack any sort of proven late-game arm, and outside of Josh Hader, Lopez might have been the best reliever available.
The Angels hope young arms like Jose Soriano, Ben Joyce, and Sam Bachman continue to develop, but all three have their inconsistencies and all three have durability concerns. Lopez would've added another veteran arm that this bullpen does need to have.
Now, Lopez joins a stacked Atlanta bullpen and has a chance to win a World Series. The only question is will Lucas Giolito, a pitcher who has been with him every step of the way throughout his career, join him?