On Saturday morning, the Los Angeles Angels completed a trade to bolster their bullpen by acquiring veteran reliever Joe Thatcher from the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was a moves that proves they are serious about contending in the AL West.
It was not only a move to keep up with the Oakland Athletics, who mere hours earlier acquired two quality starters in Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but also helps improve a glaring area of weakness. The Halos’ bullpen currently ranks 24th in ERA (4.13), fourth in most home runs allowed (28) and seventh in most walks given up (114) this season. To put it plan and simple, their bullpen play has been anything but reliable.
That said, the Angels have made three trades over the past week to fix that problem, and the fact that they made the move not long after the Athletics completed their blockbuster deal shows that they are eyeing their first division crown in the last five seasons. The Angels are looking to win now, which was quite evident by how quickly they disposed of Rich Hill, who they acquired from the Boston Red Sox just a few days ago after he faced just four batters in two games played with the team.
With Thatcher, the Angels are getting a proven veteran reliever, who is having a solid 2014 season as he had a 2.63 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched in 37 appearances with the Diamondbacks. His addition to the bullpen gives Los Angeles another reliable late-game option besides Joe Smith. What also makes this a great pick up is the underlying factor that he has yet to make the postseason in his first seven years in the majors. He is now moving to a team that is on track to make the playoffs, which means Thatcher will certainly be more determined to help his new ball club make their push.
All in all, these latest roster moves demonstrate that the Angels have their minds set on competing for the AL West title, and most importantly a trip to the playoffs.