For many years, the Los Angeles Angels struggled to build a bullpen. They had a lot of trouble developing quality relievers, so with that in mind, they knew they had to spend money to run out a competitive bullpen.
Unfortunately, each move the Angels made to fortify their bullpen in the 2021 offseason aged poorly. The Raisel Iglesias contract wasn't horrific, but it was expensive enough to make the Angels want to simply dump him for nothing more than Tucker Davidson in return. The Ryan Tepera contract was so bad to the point where he was DFA'd earlier this season. The other big-time reliever they brought in was Aaron Loup who lasted longer than the other two, but wasn't exactly much better.
Loup signed a two-year deal worth $17 million. The first two years were guaranteed at $7.5 million apiece while the third year was a club option worth another $7.5 million with a buyout for $2 million. The Halos can keep Loup around if they choose, but there's simply no chance that will happen, at least at the $7.5 million price tag. With that in mind, we can only ask one question. What's Aaron Loup's final grade for his two years in Anaheim?
Aaron Loup gave the LA Angels an overall D+ performance in his 120 appearances over 2 seasons
The Angels brought Loup in after he had the best year of his career with the Mets in the season prior. Loup had an ERA of 0.95 in 65 appearances for New York. The Halos in no way expected Loup to replicate that season, or even come close to doing so, but they certainly expected better than the production they got.
Loup can get a C+ grade for the 2022 season. He got off to a strong start, but then really struggled in May at the same time the team did. The Angels had hoped he'd help them snap their long losing streak but he wound up blowing three saves that month, two of which occurred during the 14-game skid. Loup also took a loss and had an ERA over 10.00 in May.
He was better down the stretch, but those games happened when the Angels were out of it. A 3.84 ERA isn't horrible, but Loup blew five saves and took five losses. He wasn't good when the Angels needed him to be, and that docked his grade.
The southpaw had some stretches in which he was effective in 2022, it's a lot harder to find any silver lining. He had a 6.10 ERA in 55 appearances and 48.2 innings pitched. He was put in a high-leverage spot on Opening Day and was never chosen to pitch in big spots again unless the other options were either used or unavailable.
Loup missed time earlier this season on the IL, and was just placed on the IL once again, this time with a shoulder strain ending his season prematurely. His last appearance with the Angels was a classic, seeing him allow four runs in an inning of work against the Rays. He entered in a tie game and blew it to the point where the Angels had no shot of coming back.
The veteran deserves an F for his second season with the club, and a D+ for his time overall seems pretty fair.