LA Angels have no excuse for mysteriously sitting out this top pitcher’s free agency

The Angels may have been right to avoid the top of the pitching market, but their process deserves a tough look.
San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

Anyone that has followed the Los Angeles Angels for any appreciable period of time knows that the team has been chronically unable to build a pitching staff. From the draft to free agency to trades, the number of pitchers that have failed to deliver overwhelmingly dwarfs the number that have performed well in an Angels uniform. In fact, the latter group may only consist of Shohei Ohtani -- and only when he was at his healthiest.

There are a lot of reasons for this. One, they have an owner in Arte Moreno that has an open disdain for investing in pitching, which is a problem in itself. However, there have also been notable high draft pick misses along the way (Sam Bachman, Ky Bush, Jack Kochanowicz) and some signings that should have been better than they were (Andrew Heaney, Alex Cobb). All in all, it hasn't been a good time with the Angels' pitchers.

As a result, it was weird that even with a diminished, post-Ohtani payroll, the Angels didn't come away with any starting pitcher of note before the start of the 2024. They were connected to multiple names during the offseason, including Blake Snell, but came up empty-handed. Even more concerning, there was a recent report from Bob Nightengale that revealed the Angels didn't even make Blake Snell an offer, even though the Halos were one of his preferred destinations.

The LA Angels not making an offer to Blake Snell is malpractice, plain and simple

It would be one thing if the Angels just had a different value on Snell and couldn't come to terms. That happens all the time and is understandable. Some teams don't like giving long-term contracts to pitchers at all, while others have fairly rigid constraints on the types of guys they are willing to pay. If the team had one number in mind and just could not get Snell/Boras on board, so be it. Clearly, Snell/Boras' camp had difficulty finding suitors this offseason who would approach their price.

It is another issue altogether if the Angels just sat Snell's market out. There is a chance that Snell's initial asking price and posture from Boras were so high that the Angels didn't even bother. However, if we are being honest with ourselves, the most likely reason is because the Angels are trying to embrace being in reset mode and have an owner that is almost never going to pay a pitcher north of $25 million a season, even if the fit is obvious.

It is a shame, because this Angels team is weirdly interesting. Taylor Ward is bouncing back nicely, Reid Detmers is pitching well to start the season, and the Angels have a very respectable 5-4 record. Imagine how they could have looked with Snell in the fold instead of him signing with the Giants on a short-term deal.

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