The Los Angeles Angels splurged in the offseason with their December signing of closer Carlos Estévez to a two-year, $13.5 million contract. Angels manager Phil Nevin held Estévez out of a save situation early in the season, but quickly turned to him as one of the team’s most frequent relief options.
In 60.2 innings over 61 appearances, the Angels closer has a 3.56 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 30 saves, tied for the 10th most in Major League Baseball. His efforts earned him an All-Star appearance for the first time in his seven-year career. He has a career-high 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings up to this point.
Nevin has been beyond impressed with Estévez, both as an on-the-field performer and in the clubhouse. And having a second season with the 30-year-old at the back end of the bullpen is an exciting prospect for the Angels manager, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“I think he’s had a heckuva year for us, more than probably we anticipated when we signed him,” Manager Phil Nevin said. “We knew what kind of dude he was. He’s been great in the room. He’s helped out these young pitchers a lot, especially the bullpen guys. Really excited to have him back for next year too.”
The Angels are facing a uniquely massive offseason. Shohei Ohtani is an impending free agent and is seen around the league as likely to sign with a different team. If he does, it would trigger a decision on superstar Mike Trout, a possibility the Angels are seriously considering for the first time in his 11 seasons.
If both of those things happen, veterans like Estévez may be served better on other teams to net the Halos a refreshed farm system. But if Estévez does find himself on the Angels at the start of 2024, Nevin clearly sees him as a foundational piece.
Jimmy Herget having resurgent run
From Opening Day through July 17, Herget pitched to the tune of a 5.06 ERA, 6.57 FIP, with a 1.50 WHIP. The 30-year-old had relied primarily on his slider and his curveball, which provided negative returns even with his funky arm slot.
After spending time in Triple-A Salt Lake, Herget was recalled on Aug. 19 for one outing, but has since stuck in Major League Baseball from Sept. 1. In that span, he’s been phenomenal, utilizing his curveball at a 44.3% clip and discussed his up and down season following their finale with the Tampa Bay Rays, per Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:
“It’s obviously been a lot better,” Herget said Thursday, a day after he pitched two scoreless innings in a win against the Tampa Bay Rays. “Multiple times this year, things didn’t do the way that they should have. It’s obviously good to end with a good last month and head into the offseason.”