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Report: Angels in ‘constant contact’ with Giants regarding relievers Will Smith, Tony Watson

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Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reports that the Angels have been in “constant contact” with the Giants regarding lefty relievers Will Smith and Tony Watson. Baggarly notes that the Angels were runners-up for Zach Britton, who signed with the Yankees over the weekend.

Smith, 29, is entering his fourth and final year of arbitration eligibility. MLB Trade Rumors projects him to earn $4.1 million in 2019 before he becomes eligible for free agency. This past season, he worked 53 innings to the tune of a 2.55 ERA and a 71/15 K/BB ratio. Notably, Smith wasn’t just a matchup reliever — he faced right-handed batters 138 times and limited them to a .582 OPS.

Watson, 33, is under contract through at least the end of the season, earning $3.5 million. He has a player option for 2020 worth $2.5 million with a $500,000 buyout. This past season, Watson posted a 2.59 ERA with a 72/12 K/BB ratio in 66 innings of work. He tended to face more lefties, as they accounted for roughly 42 percent of batters faced. However, Watson still held righties to a .621 OPS.

At the moment, the only lefty in the Angels’ bullpen is Williams Jerez, so adding one or both of Smith and Watson would be a big boost.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.