The Angels led the AL in ERA last year, while finishing 10th in runs scored, yet manager Mike Scioscia would prefer a pitcher to a hitter as the team’s big addition this winter.
“We need to get stronger pitching,” Scioscia said. “I know you look at Weav and Haren and Santana and it sounds like you’re getting greedy. But you need five guys going out there during the season to give you a chance to win, and right now we might have an incredible playoff rotation, but you need a full rotation to give yourself that opportunity to get into the playoffs.”
C.J. Wilson heads the team’s list. As things stand now, the Angels have only journeyman Jerome Williams, rookie Garrett Richards and swingman Trevor Bell behind Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana in the rotation. So, they do need one more quality arm there. Whether they need it more than a bopper for the middle of the lineup is questionable, but there’s an argument to be made.
The Angels could also consider adding a late-inning reliever. Jordan Walden was an All-Star as a rookie and seems poised for a nice run as the team’s closer, but since there aren’t any top-flight setup men to invest in, the Angels could target Ryan Madson with the idea of moving Walden into an eighth-inning role.
Aramis Ramirez is viewed as the Angels’ top target when it comes to offense, but they’ll face competition from the Phillies and Brewers there.
According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, free agent reliever Joba Chamberlain has a deal with the Brewers. No confirmation or terms of the contract have been confirmed by the team yet.
Chamberlain, 31, had a promising resurgence in the Indians’ bullpen during 2016. He shaved his ERA down to a modest 2.25 mark over 20 innings with Cleveland, paired with an 8.1 SO/9 and less-than-stellar 5.0 BB/9 rate. Over a decade in the major leagues, the right-hander holds a career 3.81 ERA, 8.8 SO/9 and 3.7 BB/9 rate.
The veteran righty was released by the Indians in July after refusing re-assignment. He’s expected to compete for a major league role this spring.
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.