Angels Rumors: Robert Stephenson Emerges As Possible Bullpen Addition
MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels added left-handed reliever Adam Kolarek to their bullpen equation, signing him to a one-year deal worth $900,000.

Angels manager Ron Washington has several solid arms at his disposal, which includes All-Star closer Carlos Estévez, Andrew Wantz, José Soriano. Because of how many injuries they dealt with this past season, general manager Arte Moreno is getting an early start by replacing the left-handed specialist spot he needed to fill now that Aaron Loup is gone.

Estévez was solid in 2023, posting a 1.80 ERA, 3.54 FIP, with a .211 batting average allowed in the first half. However, he struggled in the second half, especially in from August into the rest of the year.

But they feel confident in him at the backend, and could opt to add-on a strong setup arm, with the capability of what Estévez also brings. According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Angels could be interested in free-agent reliever Robert Stephenson.

Stephenson is drawing a lot of interest from around Major League Baseball because of how effective he was when in the right situation. His stuff is among the best on the open market, and while with the Tampa Bay Rays last year, he was stellar.

When used in the latter parts of the game(seventh inning through extra innings), Stephenson posted a 2.22 ERA, 1.95 FIP, with a .134 batting average allowed.

What can Robert Stephenson bring to the Angels?

Adding Stephenson to the Angels staff would be a solid addition, but the variability in his career numbers show how up and down he’s been. In 2022, he posted a 6.04 ERA, 4.66 FIP (44.2 innings pitched) with the Rockies, but followed it up with a 3.38 ERA, 2.81 FIP (13.1 innings pitched) once he joined the Pirates.

Stephenson is a wild card piece, and because he continued the trend of being unpredictable, front office’s will have to heavily rely on the data from when he was at his best. That includes the rough start to his 2023 campaign, but then once he joined the Rays organization, his strikeout rate shot up from 10.93 per nine innings, to 14.09 over a 38.1 inning sample.

He posted a career-best 2.45 FIP, with a 2.35 ERA over a 42-game stretch, and became a huge piece to the Rays bullpen.

His projections via MLB Trade Rumors has Stephenson commanding a multi-year contract in the $36 million range, which might be too much for the Angels to offer. But the possibility of adding another high-leverage arm to the Angels bullpen is something that could stabilize their unit, but it might be too rich for their direction.

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