After heading into 2012 with some extremely high expectations, following an incredibly noisy winter, the Los Angeles Angels failed to reach the postseason. Falling flat on their faces in the first month or so of the season didn’t help, but the real failures for this team came from the relief corps.
The bullpen for the Angels was among the worst in baseball last season. There’s no doubt that there are some quality arms in the ‘pen, but they were unable to piece together any consistency in finishing ballgames in 2012.
The Halos ranked 22nd in the league in bullpen ERA last season, finishing at a 3.97. They blew 22 saves. This was a group that was expected to improve anyway, prior to their two big signings so far this offseason.
Signing Ryan Madson was an absolutely brilliant move for this club. He’s an excellent reliever and should end up being a bargain of a closer for this club, with his $3.5 million base salary.
Sean Burnett was also a very nice, albeit quiet, addition for this club. On a two-year, $8 million deal, Burnett’s deal is very favorable and he’s an underrated arm in this bullpen. He brings 2.38 ERA and adds another lefty to the mix.
Aside from the two additions to this point, the Angels still have Ernesto Frieri in the fold. He had an absolutely fantastic year last season, finishing with a 2.32 ERA and 23 saves. He slides into the setup role to give the Halos a very formidable eighth and ninth inning combination.
In addition to Frieri, the Halos already have Scott Downs and Kevin Jepsen in place, giving them a very solid core group of relievers to finish off games in 2013.
With the two additions of Madson and Burnett, on top of what the Angels already have on their roster, this is a group that has an opportunity to make the jump from a weakness for this club, to a strong suit for the team in 2013. They were expected to improve as a unit anyway, and their additions this winter have helped to expedite that process.