Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that Angels GM Billy Eppler told reliever Huston Street he’ll have to compete to take ownership of the closer’s role next spring. Cam Bedrosian is another candidate for the role.
Street, 33, made only 26 appearances during the 2016 season due to oblique, hamstring, and knee injuries. He missed the final two months after undergoing knee surgery. Overall, the right-hander compiled a 6.45 ERA with a 14/12 K/BB ratio and nine saves across 22 1/3 innings.
Bedrosian, meanwhile, broke out with a 1.12 ERA and a 51/14 K/BB ratio in 40 1/3 innings. The 25-year-old is, no surprise, the son of Steve Bedrosian, who won a Cy Young Award as the Phillies’ closer in 1987.
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.