The Los Angeles Angels had their name in the mix for nearly every top starting pitcher on the free agent market. However, in an all-too familiar routine, the Halos struck out on all of them, including former L.A. Dodgers ace and current New York Mets starter Max Scherzer.
For most of free agency prior to the lockout, it appeared as though Scherzer would be picking between the Angels and Dodgers. However, the Mets made an aggressive late push and ultimately signed him to a whopping three-year, $130 million deal.
Reportedly, the Angels were actually in a better position to land Scherzer than the Dodgers, although specific offers have not yet been revealed publicly, according to Mike DiGiovanna of The L.A. Times:
Source familiar with Max Scherzer negotiations said #Angels were "closer" than #Dodgers to acquiring the RHP but that neither team was very close to matching three-year, $130-million deal Scherzer agreed to with #Mets. #Giants were also in the mix.
— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) November 29, 2021
Even though the Angels likely ranked second to the Mets, it was confirmed by a second source that the Angels were never close to the $130 million figure that Scherzer got, according to Jack Harris of The L.A. Times:
Max Scherzer signed a record-breaking three-year, $130-million contract with the New York Mets that, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, the Angels didn’t come close to matching.
While there is an argument to be made that the Angels failed their offseason goals by not acquiring any of the top free agents on the market, they simply cannot be faulted for not giving Scherzer $130 million.
While Scherzer is undoubtedly one of the best pitchers on the planet, he’s also entering his age-38 season and coming off of a playoffs in which he had to miss scheduled starts due to fatigue. The Angels could not take the risk of breaking the AAV record on Scherzer when they still have other areas of need.
Signing Scherzer likely means no Raisel Iglesias. It also means no trades for any starters either. It would essentially be Scherzer, Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Loup, and then the exact same staff as last year. Without Scherzer, the team has greater flexibility to make moves after the lockout.
Perry Minasian stresses that offseason is not over
While absolutely nothing is happening right now due to the lockout, Minasian made it clear in the final hours of normalcy that the Angels were not done in their pursuit of pitching. He didn’t give too many specifics in terms of a plan, but he assured that more pitching could be expected.