The Los Angeles Angels this offseason have made it a priority to improve their pitching staff that was ranked statistically among the worst in the league, and the addition of Eric O’Flaherty would be another step toward helping that cause.
The 28-year-old pitcher spent his first three years of his career with the Seattle Mariners where he had several stints between the majors and minors due to his inconsistent pitching. O’Flaherty was able to play in a full season with the Mariners in 2007 as posted he a 7-1 record with a 4.47 ERA, 37 strikeouts, 45 hits allowed and four holds in 52.1 innings pitched. In that year he became the first pitcher in Seattle’s history to begin his major league career with seven consecutive wins.
O’Flaherty would struggle in the 2008 regular season as he only pitched in 6.2 innings with a 20.25 ERA and was sent down the minors. His major league career would again take off in 2009 as he would sign with the Atlanta Braves, where he has spent his last five seasons of his career. He would have his best season in 2011 as he became the first reliever in MLB history to have an early below 1.00 ERA to go along with making at least 70 appearances in one season. In his historic season, O’Flaherty had a 2-4 record with a 0.98 ERA, 67 strikeouts, 1.09 WHIP and 32 holds in 72.1 innings pitched.
He would follow up that season performance in the next season by posting 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 46 strikeouts and 28 holds in 57.1 innings pitched. But this last season the injury bug would hit O’Flaherty as he would only make 19 appearances where he pitched 18.0 innings with a 2.50 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 12 holds before his year was abruptly cut short due a torn UCL in his left elbow that required Tommy John surgery.
During his tenure with the Braves, the seven-year veteran demonstrated that he could be a reliable arm that the Angels would welcome on their pitching staff that had its fair share of struggles last season. The addition of O’Flaherty would be good addition to the bullpen, but questions about the right-hander’s health may become an issue as he is coming off Tommy John surgery which typically takes a pitcher an entire year to recover from the procedure. If the Halos were to add O’Flaherty, who is only 28 years old, it would have to be a commitment past this upcoming season as it would give him time to fully recover from the surgery.
Nonetheless, if Los Angeles is looking to add another quality arm to their pitching staff, O’Flaherty would be a low-risk, high reward move. And if it works out he would be a great acquisition to their bullpen.