Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian made his first public comments since the signing of Noah Syndergaard to a one-year, $21 million deal earlier this week. He had long stated that the Angels were going after pitchers with an aggressive style, and there’s no doubt that Syndergaard fits that bill when healthy.
Another pitcher who fits that mold is closer Raisel Iglesias, who recently turned down the one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer. He is a free agent, and can either sign with the Angels or another team, which would net L.A. some draft compensation.
Minasian wound up discussing both players in his first public address of the free agency period. Starting with Syndergaard, Minasian recognized the risk in a deal like this, but also reassured fans of the upside that the star pitcher can bring at full strength, according to Jack Harris of The L.A. Times:
“Obviously there is risk,” Minasian said. “We’re well-aware of that.”
“I think it’s huge upside,” Minasian said. “When he’s right, he’s one of the better pitchers in the game. He’s one of those guys that, you want to give him the ball in big spots. His postseason history will tell you that. On top of that, the aggressiveness he pitches with, the moxie, whatever you want to call it, I think complements our rotation really well. It’s something we want to improve. He definitely provides that.”
$21 million — and a draft pick — for Syndergaard was widely seen as too high of a price. But for a team like the Angels that has been in desperate need of a starter like Syndergaard, it feels worthwhile.
As for Iglesias, Minasian now needs to decide if he’s willing to break open the bank for a reliever, a tough decision even for one as good as their 2021 closer. But Minasian feels confident that a deal can get done.
“Nothing’s changed,” Minasian said. “We’re still in contact with his representation. It’s somebody we would obviously love to have back … I’m optimistic we can work something out.”
No numbers have been said publicly, but it’s assumed that Iglesias will be looking for a contract similar to that of Liam Hendriks from last offseason, when he received three years, $54 million from the Chicago White Sox.
If he gets that, the Angels payroll will be at about $168 million before arbitration players or any other free agent and trade acquisitions. This would be an almost certain signal that Arte Moreno is willing to go over the $180 million line he’s hovered at for the past several years.
If they let him walk, it’s because they have bigger plans on how to spend that money and because of the draft pick they’ll receive.
But Iglesias and Syndergaard both fit the mold of aggressive pitchers that Minasian has been dead-set on acquiring. At this point, re-signing Iglesias feels like the smart move, even if the cost is a bit higher than they had hoped.
Shohei Ohtani keeping extension talks quiet
While all of this is going on, the Angels and Shohei Ohtani are in the midst of a potential extension. While nothing is imminent — or even likely this offseason — Ohtani’s agent has said that discussions are ongoing.