With pitchers and catchers reporting next week, the story of the offseason is that there is no story. Of the six players offered a qualifying offer, only three have been signed. Two of them were signed within the last month. With so many talented players available, the Angels space could be a temporary home for one of them.
Kimbrel has been one of the best closers in baseball since he arrived in 2010. The seven-time All-Star and four-time NL saves leader has not found a home after winning a World Series with the Red Sox. Despite having a career 1.91 ERA and 333 saves, Kimbrel struggled in the Red Sox World Series run.
Before his 2018 postseason, Kimbrel gave up only two earned runs over 10 innings. Because of this, his seven earned runs in 10.2 innings is worrisome for potential suitors. His fastball velocity has also dropped, albeit from 98.7 mph in 2017 to 97.4 in 2018. The rise in playoff ERA and drop in velocity is apparently enough for teams to steer clear of one of the best closers in baseball.
While the Angels have already spent a lot on pitching, Kimbrel could transform their bullpen into a dominant force. Both Cody Allen and Kimbrel would be trying to prove themselves along with helping the younger arms in the bullpen. Having a dominant closer is important and Kimbrel can supply that for any team that signs him, especially the Angels.
Signing a former division rival is always an interesting proposition. If he is amazing, the team that let him go laments it for decades. However, if you sing a division rival and they are terrible, you’re the laughing stock of the division for decades. The Angels signing Dallas Keuchel is just the right amount of risk and reward.
The Angels haven’t had a legitimate ace pitcher since Jared Weaver in 2014. Even then, Weaver and his 3.59 ERA were nothing to fear. While Keuchel is a former AL CY Young winner and a two-time All-Star, many fear his inconsistent play. Keuchel had two seasons of sub 3.00 ERA in 2014 and 2017, but another three seasons of 4.50 ERA in 2012, 2013 and 2016.
For the Angels, the risk is worth the possible reward. Keuchel’s potential to lead a developing rotation could supplement what is expected to be a top 5 offense. With the former Houston Astro, the Angels could jump to the top of the division with Keuchel’s former team.
I know this is a pipe dream, but who wouldn’t love to see Bryce Harper behind Mike Trout in Anaheim? At 26 years-old, Harper is a rare free agent in his athletic prime, and what a prime it is. Across seven full seasons, Harper has a six All-Star appearances, an NL MVP award and a career .900 OPS.
While the Angels are content with Gold-Glove winner Kole Calhoun manning right field, Harper is a generational talent. And if there is an opportunity to pair your generational talent with another, you do it. Harper would solidify the Angels as one of the best lineups in the league. They could have a lineup with four or five players with 20 or more home runs, and three players with 100 RBI potential.
Though the Angels need pitching more than another position player, Harper is too big of a talent to let slip if you can get him. Even if just for one season, Harper has the ability to push a team to the playoffs on his back. Ask the Nationals. While this is unlikely, this year’s offseason has been unlikely.
While these signings are not likely to happen, this offseason has been anything but expected. The Angels would like to continue building up their minor league system through the draft, and losing a draft pick for a player is not in their long term plans. We’ll see how this offseason pans out, but the Angels should never be counted out when it comes to big signings.
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