Prior to MLB team owners imposing a lockout in December, the Los Angeles Angels made several moves to bolster their pitching staff and overall depth.
The team most notably signed starters Noah Syndergaard and Michael Lorenzen to one-year contracts, added reliever Aaron Loup on a two-year pact and rewarded closer Raisel Iglesias with a four-year contract extension. L.A. also acquired speedster Tyler Wade in a trade with the New York Yankees and claimed his teammate Andrew Velazquez off waivers.
The Angels received praise for their early offseason moves as they were ranked the fourth-most improved team by ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle.
Doolittle’s colleague, Buster Olney, has since included the Angels as an honorable mention in his list of top 10 teams entering the 2022 season:
“They need some good luck — health for Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Shohei Ohtani — but if they get that and the rotation gets a little better, they’ll be in the playoff conversation (the expanded version, anyway).”
As Olney pointed out, the Angels not only need to see improvement from their starting rotation to make the playoffs next season, they also need their superstars Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon to stay on the field.
Ohtani appeared in all but seven of the team’s 162 games last year, but Trout and Rendon combined to play in only 94 contests. Trout revealed this past October that he is “feeling great” and Rendon should be ready to go for the start of Spring Training as well.
While the Angels’ early activity in free agency makes them better going forward, there is still work to be done. The club will likely look to add another starting pitcher when the work stoppage ends, and that could come in the form of a trade for Cincinnati Reds ace Luis Castillo.
The Angels also figure to continue scouring the relief market, and with some solid arms still available, they may be able to sign one for a bargain price.
Iglesias, Loup ranked top 10 relief pitchers for 2022 season
In addition to ranking his top 10 teams for the 2022 season, Olney compiled similar lists for every position group. The Angels had two representatives in his relief pitcher rankings as Iglesias and Loup placed fifth and ninth, respectively.
The Angels were one of just two teams to have two relievers in Olney’s top 10. The Milwaukee Brewers, with Josh Hader at No. 2 and Devin Williams at No. 7, were the only other team to do so.