Los Angeles Angels free agent closer Raisel Iglesias was extended a one year, $18.4 million qualifying offer ahead of Sunday’s deadline.
Iglesias is one of eight Angels free agents that is now allowed to negotiate and sign with any team, but he was the only one given the qualifying offer. This is unsurprising, as Iglesias is the only free agent that is even arguably worth the $18.4 million price tag.
Iglesias is free to accept or decline their offer. If he accepts, he’ll play for the Angels on that one year, $18.4 million deal. If he declines, he can continue to negotiate with the Angels and other teams on a different deal.
The Angels could re-sign him even if he declines the qualifying offer. But, if Iglesias signs with another team, the Angels will receive draft compensation.
Unlike some superstars who will undoubtedly decline the qualifying offer in favor of long-term, lucrative contracts, Iglesias is in a different situation.
The Angels closer was one of the best relievers in all of baseball this season. He tossed 70.0 innings with an ERA of 2.57, a WHIP of 0.929, and an absurd 103 strikeouts compared to only 12 walks. Iglesias ranked in the top 10th percentile in nearly every category possible according to Baseball Savant.
If teams view Iglesias as a surefire candidate to repeat this performance in 2022, he could be in line for a deal similar to that of Liam Hendriks in 2020. Hendriks signed with the Chicago White Sox for three years, $54 million, an annual average value of $18 million.
The issue with Iglesias is that he doesn’t have the same history of elite production the way Hendriks did. Iglesias was very good with the Cincinnati Reds from 2016-18, but walks plagued his level of success. Then, he had his worst year in 2019 before a small bounce-back in the shortened 2020 season.
Because of the volatility of relievers, the history of walks and home runs allowed could be worrisome. But teams may look past that and focus on the remarkable production in 2021.
At this moment, it’s difficult to say what outcome is best-case scenario for both sides.
Iglesias wants to stay in Anaheim
Shortly after the conclusion of the 2021 season, Iglesias was asked about his priorities heading into the offseason. He made it clear that his top option is to stay with the Angels. Of course, it has been over a month since then, meaning things can change.