The Los Angeles Angels just completed their first sweep of the season and are playing great baseball right now. They're a season-high four games above .500 and are returning home for a crucial homestand. The Angels have a chance to show the world that they're legit by putting on a good performance against quality competition on their home turf.
In order for the Angels to have a successful homestand and rest of the season, they have to field the best roster that they possibly can. No matter how you slice it, that roster does not, and cannot include Aaron Loup any longer.
It's been time to DFA Aaron Loup, but after his latest outing, I don't see what choice Perry Minasian has.
LA Angels should have DFA'd Aaron Loup already, but yesterday's brutal outing should be final straw
The Angels signed Aaron Loup last season to try and improve what was an awful bullpen. Loup was coming off of a career year with the Mets and had always been a decent if not better left-handed reliever. It simply hasn't worked in Anaheim.
Last season Loup got off to a good start but was clearly overused, and by the time May rolled around, he seemed to lose it. He wasn't the only one to blame for the awful collapse, but in the month of May alone Loup allowed ten runs (nine earned) in eight innings of work. He blew three saves and took a loss as well.
I thought Loup was mostly fine for the rest of the season, but that one month left an extremely sour taste in Angels fans mouths, and for good reason. While that was frustrating, it wasn't quite enough for the team to cut bait with another guaranteed year, in my opinion.
Loup remained an Angel, and was immediately thrust into a high leverage spot on Opening Day. Loup came into the game with a lead, and once that eighth inning was over, the Angels were behind. They'd lose that game in large part because of him.
Since that outing, Loup has been used mostly in lower-leverage spots. However, with how much the 'pen has used early on, he's had to pitch in big moments. Again, he wasn't the only one to blame for the loss against the Brewers last weekend, but Loup gave up the winning run after Tyler Anderson pitched so brilliantly. It's clear that high leverage doesn't work, but what about with a six-run lead against a team 11 games under .500?
With the Angels bullpen not in the best shape and needing just a clean inning after Griffin Canning teetered at the end of his start, Phil Nevin called on Aaron Loup with the team up 11-5 in the sixth inning. It doesn't get much lower-leverage than that, especially for a team whose fans have booed them all series for how poorly they've played. Loup proceeds to allow two runs while recording two outs, and needed Chris Devenski, a guy who the Angels just brought up less than a week prior, to get him out of the inning.
Facing the team with the worst record in the NL, a team that looked done, Loup allowed them to get back into the game. The Angels won, so all is fine, but Loup's ineffectiveness in any spot he's thrown in cannot go unnoticed.
Loup has allowed nine runs (seven earned) in 11 innings pitched. Left-handed hitters are hitting .438 with a 1.033 OPS against him. His ERA sits at 7.00. He isn't effective in high-leverage or low-leverage spots. The Angels just sent one of their better relievers, Andrew Wantz, down to the minors to keep Loup, a guy with zero role.
He can't get lefties out and can't be used even in a six-run game without making it interesting. This team hasn't been afraid to cut players like Albert Pujols and Justin Upton who were on big money, so that's not why he's here. The team thinks he can bounce back, which is a risk I do not want to take. If he goes elsewhere and pitches well, then whatever.
DFA'ing Loup gets rid of the weakest link and opens up more flexibility for the Angels to send guys up and down. After watching him yesterday it's a no-brainer.