MLB insider sees Angels as a fit for two free agent pitchers

Aug 11, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Zack Britton (53) delivers
Aug 11, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Zack Britton (53) delivers / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels have done a nice job upgrading a roster that won 73 games last season but if the postseason is where the Angels want to end up, they shouldn't be done. They could use another starter and another reliever at the very least.

Robert Murray of FanSided on The Baseball Insiders podcast was asked a question towards the end of the episode about the Angels interest in a free agent starting pitcher.

When asked about Michael Wacha and the Angels, Robert Murray said he sees the Angels as a fit and brings up another potential fit as well.

Michael Wacha is a pretty obvious fit for the LA Angels. With the need for a sixth starter very apparent, Wacha is the best one left. He's coming off a good season with the Red Sox and would be an upgrade over the likes of Chase Silseth and Griffin Canning. The only other free agent really worth mentioning is Zack Greinke who others see as a fit as well.

Whether the Angels end up with Wacha or not remains to be seen, but Murray thinking they're a fit can be looked at as a positive thing, I'm sure there have been discussions there.

Murray was asked only about Wacha, but he was kind enough to offer another name for Angels fans to think about. Zack Britton is a player he deems to be a fit. This one I'm a little bit less confident about.

In the past, Zack Britton was one of the best closers in the game. In 2016 he was the best closer in baseball after pitching to a 0.54 ERA and converting 47 saves in 47 opportunities. That was the season in which Buck Showalter famously refused to use him and allowed Ubaldo Jimenez to give up a walk-off home run to Edwin Encarnacion to send Toronto to the Division Series.

Britton was traded from the Orioles to the Yankees in 2018 and went from being one of the best closers in the game to one of the best set-up men in the game. A healthy Britton would almost certainly be a huge addition to this subpar Angels bullpen. The problem is, can he be relied upon to stay healthy?

Britton dealt with elbow issues in the second half of the 2021 campaign and pitched just 18.1 innings. He underwent Tommy John Surgery in September but made a remarkable attempt to return for the end of the 2022 campaign. Britton did end up returning less than a year after the surgery (when the timetable is usually 14-16 months) but things didn't go as planned.

Britton made three appearances and walked six batters while recording just two outs. He was removed from his third appearance after experiencing arm fatigue and was placed right back onto the injured list. His elbow appears to have suffered no damage, but he clearly wasn't ready.

With Opening Day in late March, I assume Britton will be ready to go by then. However, how long can he be trusted? He's thrown just 38 innings in the last three seasons.

A Britton signing would be a high-risk high-reward type of move. If he's healthy, he'd probably close for this team and would be really effective. If he's not, the Angels are throwing money away. With more reliable relievers available like Andrew Chafin and Michael Fulmer, I'd stay away from Britton for now. The Angels need someone they can count on to get big outs late in games and 35-year-old Britton who's barely pitched is just not that guy right now.

Next. Q&A with new Angels TV play-by-play voice Wayne Randazzo. dark