Starting pitching has been a consistent issue for the Los Angeles Angels for years now. The team thought their pitching was headed in the right direction when they ranked sixth in the majors in starting pitching ERA in 2022. They even added to the rotation ahead of the 2023 season by signing Tyler Anderson. That signing has turned into a disaster, and the rest of the rotation took a step back as well.
As a result, what was a strength in 2022 turned into a weakness this past season. As we look ahead to 2024, the Angels' rotation is in dire need of a boost. Shohei Ohtani is a Dodger. Even if he stayed he isn't pitching this season anyway. The rest of the rotation is full of mid to back of the rotation type of starters. The Angels desperately need an ace, and the latest Angels rumors have them fixing that exact issue.
Latest Angels rumors have the team interested in Blake Snell
Jon Morosi of MLB Network says the Angels have recently spoken with Blake Snell, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. He also says that Snell makes sense as the Angels aren't viewed as a legitimate threat to sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto, which isn't surprising, but is certainly disappointing.
If Snell pitches anything close to the guy he was in 2023, the Angels will be thrilled with bringing him aboard. He took home the second Cy Young Award of his career after posting a 2.25 ERA in 32 starts and 180 innings pitched for San Diego. He also tacked on 234 strikeouts and allowed a whopping 5.8 H/9. While he looks good on the surface, a Snell addition would come with major concerns.
The southpaw has been limited to just two seasons of 30+ starts in his eight-year career. He has just three seasons of 25+ starts. Durability is a question. Even when he's healthy, he doesn't go very deep into games. He had a great year this past season and didn't miss a start, but Snell was tied for 24th in innings pitched. That's in a great year. Command has been an issue, and even was this past season with his league-leading 99 walks.
Snell obviously was great this past season and even has another Cy Young Award on his resume, but the rest of his career has been pretty mediocre. For instance, in the years between his Cy Young wins, he has a 3.85 ERA averaging 21 starts in a four-year stretch. Not bad by any means, but not an ace either.
The Angels would be taking a pretty big risk with a Snell signing. They're banking on him being the elite version of himself paying him coming off a Cy Young win. Responding to losing Shohei Ohtani by signing one of the best pitchers on the market wouldn't be shocking at all with Arte Moreno still running things.
Signing Snell wouldn't be a bad thing, but he shouldn't be their top option. There's really no reason for the Angels to not seriously be in on Yamamoto alongside virtually every other big market team. Even an arm with a higher floor and lower ceiling like Jordan Montgomery could make a lot of sense. It'll be interesting to see if this interest turns into real offers coming Snell's way.