It's been a quiet offseason so far for the Los Angeles Angels, which is especially disappointing after the team lost Shohei Ohtani to the Dodgers. In fact, since Ohtani jumped ship earlier this month, the Angels have added a grand total of zero players on a MLB deal.
The offseason is far from over, and with Yoshinobu Yamamoto finally off the market things should pick up after Christmas, but the Angels have a lot of work to do to put together a competitive team like Perry Minasian said he would.
While it's been mostly quiet for the Angels, they have signed three relievers to one-year deals. The first one of these relievers was Adam Kolarek who was signed to a one-year deal worth $900,000. Here's what Angels fans should come to expect from this left-hander.
New Angels reliever Adam Kolarek is a left-handed specialist at its finest
Adam Kolarek is a funky left-hander who was brought in to do one thing in particular. Get left-handed hitters out. He's done it throughout his entire MLB career, and this season hopefully will be no exception. He's held left-handed hitters to a .184/.235/.250 slash line with just three home runs in 292 plate appearances. That's just about as good as it gets.
Where his issue lies is his numbers against righties. Those are the polar opposite. While lefties have a .485 OPS against him, righties have an OPS of .869 in 342 plate appearances against Kolarek. Prior to the three-batter rule this signing would've made sense but with that rule in place, guaranteeing Kolarek a MLB deal is where the Angels lose me. The Angels can use him with two outs in an inning against a Yordan Alvarez or Corey Seager, but if a righty is due up next, they're in deep trouble.
From 2018-2020, Kolarek was one of the more underrated left-handed relievers in the game. He was an effective arm out of the bullpen for two great teams in the Rays and Dodgers, and even played a big role in the Dodgers winning the 2020 World Series. Since that 2020 season, however, things have gone downhill for the 34-year-old.
He has a 4.68 ERA in just 32 appearances total in the last three years for Oakland, the Dodgers, and the Mets. Expecting him to be much of a factor in this Angels bullpen, even with it lacking left-handers, would be naive.
Whether Kolarek actually makes the team remains to be seen. He has the inside track considering the fact that the Angels gave him a MLB deal and that he's out of options, but it's such an underwhelming addition which makes fans question whether he'll actually crack the roster. This is a similar situation to the one the Angels found themselves in with Brett Phillips.
Kolarek makes some sense as an addition for a team that needed a left-handed reliever, but since he's so ineffective against righties, it's hard to trust him at all with the three-batter rule in place. Ron Washington is going to have to be extremely careful picking his spots to perfection with Kolarek.