Last Friday, we heard from MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki that the Phillies were still in search of outfield help, specifically targeting a veteran, corner outfielder. Presumably, Philadelphia would be interested in a free agent that they could give a non-guaranteed contract to, but according to Zolecki, the club remained interested in Angels’ outfielder Vernon Wells. Then a few days ago, we heard that the club was done making moves. It would seem that there’s only a marginal possibility of the Angels and Phillies lining up on a deal, but there’s 80 or so days until opening day, so let’s take a closer look.
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With the Ryan Madson signing, Jerry Dipoto is officially underway spending Arte Moreno’s money in this crucial offseason. As the Free Agent Fits series has shown, the Angels desperately need pitching. It doesn’t really matter what kind of pitching, just that they need it. High leverage relief pitcher? Yep. A starting pitcher (or three)? Unless they want to look up at Texas and Oakland again in 2013, this is a must. This? Can’t have worse results than Bobby Cassevah.
This past season’s bullpen woes were well-documented. Jerry Dipoto and company are in search of solutions, and Joakim Soria might be the solution.
Prior to missing all of the 2012 season following Tommy John surgery, Soria labored through the worst season of his career in 2011. After Kansas City drafted Soria with the second selection in the 2006 Rule V Draft, the Mexican right-hander posted a 2.01 ERA across 255 innings from 2007 to 2010.
Early Sunday morning, CBS Sport’s Jon Heyman reported that the Angels were in talks with free agent reliever Ryan Madson.
The Angels’ top priority this offseason is retaining Zack Greinke and shoring up the rotation, but after Greinke their focus is sure to be bullpen help. In 2012, the Angels bullpen combined to rank last in the AL in bullpen WAR (0.9) and 12th in bullpen ERA (3.97). The bullpen woes were arguably the biggest reason they didn’t make it to the postseason, despite an offense that ranked 4th in baseball in runs scored, and 1st in team batting average.
Depending on who you ask — like, say, the MLBTradeRumors Top 50 Free Agents — Detroit Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez is the second best starting pitcher on the market,* behind only Zack Greinke. Not coincidentally, Sanchez and his agent will probably bide their time before signing somewhere (unless he’s blown away by an offer), letting Greinke set the market and create a bidding war for his services between desperate teams previously vying for Greinke. Several articles I read suggested that Sanchez would receive a deal in the $85M range; considering recent trends for mid-rotation starting pitchers, this seems like a reasonable guess.
* Cole Hamels, Jered Weaver, and Matt Cain all could have been free agents this winter. They should receive a cut of whatever Sanchez signs for.
One of those teams that could pursue Sanchez could very well be the Angels, as Greinke is rightfully their top priority this winter. With Ervin Santana and likely Dan Haren gone and without any real replacements to speak of, bringing back Greinke could be the difference between contending in the AL West or resigning to another third place finish, wasting another of Albert Pujols’ still productive years. If the Angels fail to meet Greinke’s asking price, is Sanchez a worthy investment as a contingency plan?