Perry Minasian’s plan for the Los Angeles Angels going into the offseason was clear: acquire pitching, pitching, and more pitching. So far, they’ve done just that, adding Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Loup as their only two free agent acquisitions.
However, adding one risky starter and one reliever simply isn’t enough. The Angels will have to do much more than that to bring their pitching staff to where it needs to be. They were one of eight teams bidding on Steven Matz, but the former Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets starter is heading to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Now, they appear to be one of four teams in the mix to sign San Francisco Giants starter Kevin Gausman after perhaps his best season as a pro, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 24, 2021
The Giants should be the prohibitive favorite at the moment. They have brought back nearly all of their 2021 starters and have shown a willingness to spend on starting pitching. Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners need help in their rotation and could absolutely afford to spend.
The Blue Jays now need a replacement for Matz, and even if Gausman is unable to repeat his 2021 performance, he would be more than a worthy replacement in Toronto. But the Angels are about as desperate as anyone in baseball for starting pitching, allowing them to be in the mix on nearly every free agent.
In 2021, Gausman pitched a career-high 192 innings, compiling a 2.81 ERA, a 1.042 WHIP, and 227 strikeouts. He had early Cy Young buzz before dominant ends to the season by Corbin Burnes and Max Scherzer. He also may not make a decision as quickly as Matz, who promised teams he would decide before Thanksgiving.
If the Angels landed Gausman, it absolutely gives them an offseason they can be happy with. If not, they’ll move on to the next target, with many of the top names still available.
Shohei Ohtani, Raisel Iglesias make All-MLB Team
Shohei Ohtani and Raisel Iglesias are two Angels pitchers who had a highly successful 2021 season. Both were named to the All-MLB Second Team, with Ohtani as a starting pitcher and Iglesias as a reliever.
Ohtani also made the First Team as a designated hitter to solidify yet another historic achievement in 2021.