This offseason, the Los Angeles Angels have set their eyes on improving their bullpen as evident by the trade that sent away outfielder Mark Trumbo in exchange for two young pitchers in Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago.
Pitching is one of the Halos’ weak spots heading into the 2014 season as they had one of the league’s worst pitching staffs that last season had the seventh highest ERA (4.23), tied for fifth highest opponent’s batting average (.261), and allowed the fourth most hits (1475).
So with that said, in the free-agent market this offseason, there is one pitcher the Angels should be looking to ink to a deal, and that is Grant Balfour. The 35-year-old in 2013 had an impressive season as he had his first year as a full time closer, which he posted a 2.59 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 62.2 innings pitched and converted 38 out of 41 save opportunities.
Balfour has been a solid relief pitcher for not only for the 2013 season but also over the last four years. He has recorded a sub-2.60 ERA with at least 56 strikeouts in an average of 62.3 innings pitched each year. The addition of Balfour to the Angels’ bullpen would provide stability and a reliable closer in place of Ernesto Frieri, who last season had a 3.80 ERA with 98 strikeouts, 30 walks in 68.2 innings pitched and converted 37 out of 41 save opportunities.
Last season, Frieri had his fair share of struggles with his control as evident by the 30 walks and reliability that could be exemplified the back-to-back blown saves on the road against the Texas Rangers in late July. With Balfour in the fold, it would allow Frieri to slide into the setup man role that he excelled in when he first joined the Halos in May of 2012 by going 26-straight appearances without allowing a single run.
The Angels have made it known that they would like to improve their pitching staff, and the addition of Balfour would be a step in the right direction.