It may not be Jose Quintana, Julio Tehran, or Matt Harvey.
However, the signing by the Angels of Noah Sindergaard in itself could not be the right decision for their pitching team.
In their first big offseason move, the Angels agreed to a one-year, $ 21 million deal with Sindergaard, a 29-year-old right-hander who was one of the best young pitchers in the game but only scored two innings. the last two years after Tommy John surgery.
The deal will support General Manager Perry Minasyan’s stated goal for this offseason: improving the hill with aggressive hands that can set the tone for the rest of the staff.
What he probably won’t do, however, is to remove all concerns about the Angels’ rotation, which last season ranked 22nd in average earnings, 26th in serves, and 16th most strikers on the run.
Now that one big move has been made, here are three questions to the Angels.
What are the next steps?
Time will tell if Tuesday’s news was a harbinger of even more off-season movement, or if Sindergaard will be Angels’ biggest addition this winter.
If the latter is true, the team can make a big bet.
Syndergaard has shown sky-high potential with 3.32 career ERAs, 26.4% elimination rates and, when fully operational, one of the most impressive serving repertoires in the game, complete with 90s fastball and slider-padded sinker, shifts and curves …
He and Minasyan have past connections. Minasyan was in the front office of the Toronto Blue Jays when the club picked Sindergaard in the first round of the 2010 draft, then handed him over to the New York Mets in December 2012, where he spent his first six seasons in the Major Leagues.
But Sindergaard will come to Anaheim with a lot of questions. He has only been healthy for two of the past five years – he missed most of 2017 by tearing his right lat and then undergoing Tommy John surgery shortly before the 2020 campaign began. He had the worst career record in 2019 when his ERA rose to 4.28.
It was still a welcome commodity this offseason. The Mets extended his $ 18.4 million qualifying offer, which would require the Angels to abandon their Round 2 Draft next year and $ 500,000 from their international bonus pool as compensation for signing it. Other teams reportedly were interested in Sindergaard.
It remains unclear how close Sindergaard – which will be in line to earn the largest salary in a single season among Angels pitchers – is at its best.
If he comes back at full strength, he will be able to form a dynamic punch one-two with Shohei Otani. If this is not the case, the team may still need additional serve to compete for a playoff spot.
What is the financial position of the club?
All signs approaching winter indicated that the Angels were trying to get some new arms to keep them spinning.
But given the presence of Sindergaard, it’s fair to wonder how much financial capacity the team has left to find more high-profile talent on the embankment.
Under Kota’s baseball contracts, the Angels entered winter with just over $ 130.5 million set aside for next year, including indicative salaries for admitted players and pre-arbitration players. The signing of Sindergaard will push that figure to nearly $ 152 million, $ 30 million less than the team’s opening day salaries this year.
Bringing Raisel Iglesias back a little closer – what Minasyan called his goal – would further undermine the team’s financial flexibility. Iglesias will have to decide on Wednesday to decide whether to accept his $ 18.4 million qualifying offer from the Angels. If he doesn’t, he must be in line to close a lucrative longer deal, as the top free agents in the last couple of offseasons have earned about $ 15 million in contracts on average per year.
If Iglesias does return, that means the Angels may have to either increase their payroll to get another top-tier starter like Max Scherzer, Robbie Ray, or Kevin Gausman, or opt for a less expensive option like Alex Wood. Stephen Matz. or Anthony DeSklafani. If Iglesias signs up somewhere else, then the Angels list will open something, but the team will also have a new vacancy for a closer one.
They could look into the serve market where it was rumored that Luis Castillo of the Cincinnati Reds, Sean Manea and Chris Bassitt of the Oakland Athletics, and Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez and Eliezer Hernandez of the Miami Marlins were available. This would almost certainly require the Angels to part ways with key players from an already delicate farming system.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that the Angels can also benefit from more proven depth in the bullpen and their lineup.
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This is all subtext to the signing of Sindergaard. Angels can get one potentially impressive detail on a mound. But adding it alone does not guarantee that their squad will be significantly equipped to make the leap into contender status.
What version of Sindergaard can Angels get?
Angel worshipers have seen such actions unsuccessful.
Harvey, another All-Star who struggled with injuries before coming to the Angels, ended his only season in Anaheim in 2019 after 12 starts and a 7.09 ERA. Tehran, a two-time All-Star who was a solid starter in Atlanta, was defeated with a 10.05 ERA in 2020. Quintana, another veteran reliever who was expected to at least deliver consistent performance, struggled with injury and inconsistency last season before being dropped with a 6.75 ERA.
Sindergaard should have a higher ceiling than this trio, who have also signed one-year deals in the last three off-seasons, albeit at a much lower cost.
However, his health remains in question. When he returned to the hill at the end of last season, Sindergaard’s average fastball speed dropped to the mid-90s over the course of two single-inning starts. He also didn’t flash any of his break shows at those picnics.
Next year it will be possible to decide on his workload after throwing so little in the previous two years.
However, Sindergaard told reporters at the end of last season that he was just happy to be back on the hill and expects him to be a complete success next spring.
“I definitely think I was able to demonstrate that I was healthy,” he said, according to Newsday. Now it’s time to go back to old Noah.
This is what the angels hope to receive.
At its best, Sindergaard excels at generating pipes (it has a career blow rate of 28.3%, nearly four points above the league average), limiting hard contact (its average exit speed of 86.7 miles per hour versus nearly 2 mph below the league average) and scores ground goals (his 49.9% career goal rate is almost five points higher than the league average).
At the height of his career, he could be the key missing ingredient for what the Angels need.
If he doesn’t, his $ 21 million price tag could be another bad investment for a franchise that is too used to it.