The Los Angeles Angels made known their plans to be aggressive in their search of starting pitching heading into this offseason. And if their first move is any indication, they absolutely are following through on that, as Noah Syndergaard is reportedly on his way to Anaheim.
The deal is currently pending a physical, but should all go well there, Syndergaard will join the team’s current rotation of Shohei Ohtani, Patrick Sandoval, and Jose Suarez. This represents the ultimate high-risk, high-reward signings, as Syndergaard is possibly among the most talented free agents on the market this winter.
However, injuries present a massive risk for L.A., as he has pitched just 2.0 innings since 2019, and the Angels will pay a hefty price tag — as well as a second-round pick — for his services, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN:
The Angels bolster their staff with the highest-upside arm on the market — and pay a heavy price, plus a second-rounder.
There are two major ways to look at this deal and Syndergaard’s fit with the Angels. The optimistic view is that Syndergaard is entering his age-29 season and was one of the league’s most dominant pitchers from 2015-19. Out of seven seasons he’s been on an MLB roster, he’s pitched over 150 innings in four of them.
He immediately becomes the true ace the Angels have been looking for and is the type of player that — when healthy — can truly change the outlook of a team.
The pessimistic view is that $21 million and a second-round pick is far too much to spend on a player who missed the entire 2020 season and pitched just 2.0 innings in 2021 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Syndergaard has lost three out of seven MLB seasons to injury, and had a career-worst 4.28 ERA the last full season he pitched in 2019.
Regardless of which view you choose to have, Perry Minasian stuck by his word to land frontline-level talent. Obviously, this will not be their only pitching move. Syndergaard could be a home run signing, but the Angels need at least one more starter.
But the aggression on display by Minasian with this move brings some hope that he has an in-depth plan for the offseason.
Shohei Ohtani keeping extension talks quiet
When asked about a potential extension in Anaheim, Shohei Ohtani’s agent kept his cards close to his chest, saying he will not discuss any details of a negotiation publicly. However, he did say that after speaking with Minasian and Joe Maddon, he and Ohtani are confident in the direction of the team.