The offseason is officially here for the Los Angeles Angels who just made their first big decisions of the winter. The decisions they made were obvious, but they were important nonetheless. Both Aaron Loup and Eduardo Escobar had club options for the 2024 season that the team has officially declined.
The Angels will look to improve their bullpen and bench following the departures of Aaron Loup and Eduardo Escobar
Aaron Loup was seen as a key signing in the 2021 offseason by the Angels. He had always been a reliable left-handed reliever and was just coming off his best season with the Mets. The Angels had struggled to build a competent bullpen for years, and Loup was supposed to be a key piece in fixing that. Unfortunately, he didn't come close to reaching expectations.
Loup pitched decently well for the Angels in spurts in 2022 but had a miserable year this past season, leading up to his $7.5 million club option being declined by the Angels. The Halos are now without any legitimate left-handed relievers and that should be a focus for this team in the offseason.
Eduardo Escobar is one of many players the Angels brought in for depth purposes. They were without Anthony Rendon, Zach Neto, and Gio Urshela at the time and desperately needed some more infield depth. Escobar was not having a good season with the Mets, but was a veteran who at the very least was versatile and could hit lefties well.
Unfortunately, things never really clicked for Escobar in Anaheim either. The 34-year-old had just a .563 OPS in 59 games played for the Angels and never really did much to help the Halos win ballgames. His club option worth $9 million for the 2024 season was another easy one to decline.
With Anthony Rendon's health a major question at this point, the Angels need to bring in a capable backup who can step in and play regularly for if/when he lands on the IL. Escobar at this point in his career has proven he's not that guy.
The Angels are responsible for paying $2 million on Loup's buyout and $500,000 on Escobar's. The unfortunate reality is the money they're paying to get rid of them turns out to be more worthwhile than the money they spent employing them.