The free agent starting pitcher market this offseason felt very much like a hectic game of musical chairs. Every team was frantically trying to sign their ace before the music stopped on Wednesday night as the league entered a work stoppage.
When the dust settled, Perry Minasian’s Angels had struck out on Robbie Ray, Marcus Stroman, Max Scherzer, Kevin Gausman, and Jon Gray. From that perspective, it’s easy to look at the Angels offseason and call it a failure.
But upon deeper examination, the answer isn’t so simple. The Angels signed four free agents and spent the ninth most money in Major League Baseball — $102 million — exclusively on pitching. They added Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Loup, Michael Lorenzen, and re-signed Raisel Iglesias.
Minasian gave a concise — if slightly unclear — answer about his thoughts on the team’s offseason thus far when asked if he felt the team has done enough, according to Sam Blum of The Athletic:
“We feel like we have added some impactful arms,” Minasian said in response to one. “And again, the offseason’s not over.”
He doubled down on the second half of that sentiment when asked if he felt the team needed to add more pitching.
“I don’t think there’s any pitching staff that is good enough,” Minasian said, not exactly answering the question of whether he felt his pitching staff is good enough.
“If you’d ask any team, they’d all want to get better. Again, pitching is so hard to acquire. And you can never have enough.”
Based on that and nothing else, it would seem obvious that Minasian is going to go after more pitching when the lockout comes to an end. However, the options are running thin.
In terms of free agents, only Carlos Rodon and Clayton Kershaw could be considered front-line starters. But both carry significant injury risk, something that’s already present with Syndergaard and Shohei Ohtani.
The Angels could make a deal for a pitcher like Luis Castillo or Chris Bassitt, but the asking price may be absurdly high on young starters with multiple years of team control.
Regardless, Minasian appears to be using the time away from negotiations to figure out what the game plan is when a new CBA comes about.
Angels officially sign Iglesias
In the final hours before owners locked out the players, the Angels managed to agree to terms with Iglesias and get a contract signed. Iglesias and the Angels worked together on a four-year, $58 million deal that is backloaded, giving L.A. some much-needed cash flow breathing room in 2022.