MLB Trade Rumors: 5 Relief Pitchers Los Angeles Angels Should Target
Which Pitchers Should the Angels Look At?
The Los Angeles Angels are a team that has under-performed in a big way to start the 2013 season. The Angels were just 19-27 after winning their fourth straight game on Wednesday night. The problem with this team right now isn’t their offense, but it is their pitching. I have come up with five relievers that the Angels should be targeting in the next couple months that could turn around their horrible start.
Los Angeles is 27th in MLB with a 4.59 ERA and is also 27th BAA with a .267 mark. The Angels have also only gotten 24 quality starts in their 46 games, so the bullpen has been under a lot of pressure. Those are not winning numbers and it isn’t going to win any games for the Angels. I knew, like everyone else, that the Angels would be focused on using their offense to win a ton of games. The additions of Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols over the last two seasons were supposed to turn things around, but the team didn’t make the playoffs last season and is heading in that direction again.
If the Angels were able to pick up at least one of these relievers to shore up the back end of their bullpen, Los Angeles may be able to get away with some bad offensive nights. It may take some work to get a few of these pitchers but depending on how things go between now and the trading deadline, I could see all five of these relievers being available for the Angels to go after. Here are the five relief pitchers that I think the Angels should be targeting going forward.
5. Sean Doolittle
Doolittle is your prototype left-handed late inning reliever. He has 21 strikeouts in 20 innings while having an ERA of just 0.90 for the Oakland Athletics. The main relievers in the Los Angeles bullpen right now from the left side are Sean Burnett and Scott Downs. Downs has already pitched in 19 games while Burnett has seen 11 appearances. I know Doolittle has already seen 21 appearances himself through 48 games for Oakland, but if the Angels used him for only one or two hitters, he should be fine for the rest of the season. It may be hard though to get a trade done inside the division however.
4. Luke Gregerson
Gregerson has been one of the best set-up men in MLB over the past number of years. He is doing it again this season for the San Diego Padres. He has a 0.92 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 19.2 innings so far. He isn’t a closer and never will be, but he could easily come in to be the seventh or eighth-inning guy. He also hasn’t given up a run since Apr. 19. If the team wanted to pull the trigger, now is the time to deal for Gregerson.
3. Casey Janssen
Janssen has been stuck on a Toronto Blue Jays team that has struggled all year long. He has 10 saves and a 2.40 ERA. The ERA was at 0.69 before giving up five runs over his last two innings of work. I don’t see Janssen becoming the new closer. That job would remain with Ernesto Frieri, but Janssen could be used perfectly in the eighth inning to bridge the gap between the starter and getting to Frieri in the ninth. He hasn’t pitched much this season for Toronto since they haven’t needed to use their closer much, so he would be well-rested for the stretch run.
2. Rafael Betancourt
Betancourt is going through an injury issue right now which may affect his value moving forward. He is 1-1 with a 1.56 ERA and has recorded 10 saves for the Colorado Rockies. He could be used in his more familiar set-up role or become the team’s new closer. He has been one of the most durable relievers in MLB over the past several years as well, appearing in at least 60 games in each of the last six seasons. It seems like the perfect pickup for a Los Angeles bullpen that has used their primary relievers a ton early this season and will need help sooner than later.
1. Jonathan Papelbon
Papelbon has eight saves and a 1.02 ERA this season for the Philadelphia Phillies. It may appear that the Angels have their closer situation under control with Ryan Madson scheduled to return soon, but Papelbon would be a better choice. It would allow the team to have Ernesto Frieri move into the eighth inning role where I think he belongs in the first place. The Angels could turn every game into a six-inning affair with a back end of the bullpen that features Madson, Frieri and Papelbon. This will depend a lot on whether the Phillies fall out of the race, which is looking likely.