Angels Reportedly Agree To Three-Year Contract With RHP Robert Stephenson
MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels have reportedly made their most significant free agent move of the 2023-24 offseason, bringing in one of the best relief pitchers on the market in right-hander Robert Stephenson. The deal is worth a reported $33 million over three years, another notch in Angels owner Arte Moreno’s recent change of heart regarding multi-year deals for relief pitchers.

Stephenson, who will be 31 when the 2024 season begins, spent 2023 with both the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays. He excelled in the Rays’ pitching machine, as do many pitchers, posting a 2.35 ERA with 60 strikeouts and eight walks in 38.1 innings. 2024 marks Stephenson’s ninth MLB campaign.

He has spent time with the Cincinnati Reds — five seasons — when he made the transition to a full-time reliever in his fourth year. He then was traded to the Colorado Rockies after the 2020 season, where he shared a bullpen with now Angels teammate Carlos Estévez. He was waived by th Rockies midway through the 2022 season, where he signed with the Pirates and was later traded to the Rays.

The three-year deal with the Angels was first reported by Robert Murray of FanSided:

Aa things stand, Estévez is the Angels closer, as Stephenson has only three career saves. But the ninth-year reliever figures to slot in perfectly as Estévez’s set-up man for the eighth inning. Stephenson instantly becomes one of the Angels’ best relievers after a strong 2023 campaign in Tampa Bay.

The Angels are likely to use Spring Training to solidify what is likely to be an eight or nine-man bullpen. But currently, Estévez and Stephenson lead a group that also has Luís Garcia, Adam Cimber, Ben Joyce, José Soriano, Jimmy Herget, Austin Warren and José Quijada. Their bullpen is not viewed favorably around the league, but has some interesting pieces.

Angels showing a preference for hitting

As is usually the case with Moreno, the Angels are reportedly more in the market to spend on hitters than they are pitchers. Of course, with Stephenson being their most significant signing of the offseason thus far, it’s possible the Halos have chosen to change course.

But there remain plenty of intriguing bats on the market, one of whom being superutilityman Kiké Hernandez. The Angels have shown some reported interest in the former L.A. Dodgers Swiss Army Knife.

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