In an effort to finally build a good bullpen, the Los Angeles Angels have signed a whole bunch of relievers in free agency the last couple of years. Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera were the headliners in the 2021 free agency class, but they both failed tremendously. Tepera was DFA'd early on in the second year of his two-year deal while Loup remains but has struggled.
The 2022 bullpen signings were much better. Matt Moore was an excellent addition and was consistently great until the day the Angels decided to place him on waivers. Carlos Estevez was the other big addition, but he's been more up and down.
Estevez has survived the year as the Angels closer but some second half struggles should have the front office questioning whether Estevez should remain in that role in 2024.
Should Carlos Estevez remain the LA Angels closer in 2024?
It's been a tale of two halves for Carlos Estevez. The first half was spotless, as he posted a 1.80 ERA in 36 appearances and 35 innings of work, converting 21 saves in 21 opportunities. Walks were a bit of an issue, but Estevez did a decent job limiting hits and did a great job stranding base runners.
The second half has been an entirely different story. The right-hander has a 6.43 ERA in 20 appearances and 21 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting nearly .300 against him, and he's converted just eight of his 11 save opportunities. He's not the only reason why this team has collapsed, but he's blown three saves and the grand slam he gave up against the Mariners remains an absolute killer.
Estevez's struggles should put him on thin ice to start 2024 as the team's closer. I don't think going all out on a guy like Josh Hader is the solution to put this team over the top as fun as that'd be, but I do think maybe bringing back a guy like Matt Moore and another high-leverage arm to create some competition for Estevez would be a good thing.
The first half can't be dismissed when he was so good but the second half struggles also cannot be overlooked. If this version of Estevez shows up in 2024 with him as the unquestioned closer, things can get ugly in a hurry.