The Los Angeles Angels non-tender of five relief pitchers was no surprise. As expected, the Wednesday non-tender deadline saw a flurry of moves around baseball. Although some were more surprising than others. The Angels’ casualties were Justin Anderson, Matt Andriese, Keynan Middleton, Hoby Milner and Hansel Robles. Yes, the Angels will be in search of relief arms after a disastrous 2020 campaign from their bullpen. Yet, keeping these players didn’t make performance or financial sense.
Angels Non-Tender Decisions
Justin Anderson: A career 4.75 ERA and 1.524 WHIP. Strike one. Plus, he had Tommy John surgery in July. Strike two. He was eligible for a salary increase due to hitting arbitration. Strike three. Anderson will sign a minimum deal and latch on somewhere once he fully recovers from Tommy John.
Matt Andriese: He was better than his overall pitching line might indicate. Why? Well, his only start was terrible. But, his relief pitching line was solid. In 15 games, he threw 30 1/3 innings, with a 3.56 ERA and a wonderful 0.824 WHIP. The Angels non-tender of Andriese was 100% for financial reasons. They might even look to sign him back as a free agent.
Keynan Middleton: It was good to see Key’s fastball return. Unfortunately, nothing else really did. Like Andriese, the Angels might look to buy low on Middleton because when completely healthy he is a solid bullpen arm. Alas, the raise he was set to earn in arbitration wasn’t warranted from his performance.
Hoby Milner: There is absolutely zero reason why Milner pitched in 19 games during 2020. A soft-tossing lefty, his first pitch of the season was a Matt Olson walk-off grand slam on Opening Night. It was be a precursor of things to come. Sadly, his 8.10 ERA wasn’t even the worst one on this list.
Hansel Robles: What happened? That’s what the Angels front office and fans alike wondered as Robles crashed and burned throughout the season. Robles was supposed to be the Angels lock-down closer after a fantastic 2019 season. Instead, his ERA more than quadrupled to 10.26, as seven of his 18 appearances saw him allow two runs or more. And, with a likely raise on the $3.85 million salary he made in 2020, Robles was expendable.
The 2020 non-tender deadline was a much bigger deal than years past due to the financial losses sustained during the COVID-19 shutdown. While the Angels cut a few people they might have otherwise gambled on, so did every other team. So, the free agent pool is flush with relief arms for the Angels to improve their bullpen. After looking at options before the non-tender deadline, here is a look at the recently added players to the free agent pool.
Archie Bradley: Yes, the fastball is down a couple miles an hour. And, his K/9 was the lowest of his relief career. The real reason Bradley didn’t get a tender has more to do with the Cincinnati Reds financial picture than anything else. Bradley is still a premiere arm. Also, despite the loss of velocity, he had the lowest walk rate of his career. The Angels, like nearly every other team in baseball, would love to add Bradley to their stable of arms.
Chasen Shreve: Look, the Angels NEED a lefty. Dillon Peters isn’t going to get it done. Maybe Shreve won’t either, but his decent 2020 season is a major improvement over nearly all of the Angels internal bullpen options. Add in that he’s a lefty and it’s clear that the Angels should take a hard look at him.
Alex Claudio: If Shreve doesn’t check the boxes for left-handed reliever, maybe Claudio does. Like Shreve, Claudio should be cheap given his 2018-2020 struggles. But, reclamation projects are pitching coach Mickey Callaway‘s specialty. And, he’s also a far better pitcher than Dillon Peters.
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