The Los Angeles Angels had two priorities going into the offseason, find a third baseman and load the pitching staff with good arms.
They were able to find their third baseman early into the offseason when they traded center fielder Peter Bourjos to the St. Louis Cardinals for third baseman David Freese. They were also able to add to their bullpen in that trade when they also received Fernando Salas, a young hard throwing right handed reliever.
They then went ahead and added two young left-handed arms to the back of their rotation when they traded power hitting first baseman and fan favorite Mark Trumbo in a three-team trade at this week’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida. Trumbo was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks for left-hander Tyler Skaggs and left-hander Hector Santiago from the Chicago White Sox.
These young lefties come with a lot of upside but if things don’t pan out the way they hope, the Angels can’t afford another losing season and can’t afford another horrible pitching season. The Angels still need another veteran pitcher to shore up the rotation.
The Angels saved about $3 million in the trade, giving them about $18 million in available funds. Those $18 million should be used on bringing in veteran Matt Garza.
According to ESPN Insider Jim Bowden, the Angels are strongly looking at him as GM Jerry Dipoto has his sights on the 30-year-old Garza, who posted a combined 10-6 record with a 3.82 ERA in 24 starts for the Cubs and Rangers.
The major upside to signing Garza as opposed to several other free agent pitchers out there in the market is that he is not attached to any draft pick compensations. Since Garza was traded midseason to the Rangers, the Angels would not have to forfeit any draft pick if they go ahead and sign him as they had to do after signing Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.
Garza would join ace Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson at the top of the rotation, followed by Garrett Richards and newly acquired Skaggs or Santiago. The veteran presence at the top should give the Halos a solid rotation, something that lacked last season.
While Garza might be on the decline, he has posted an ERA under 4.00 in every season since 2007. Only three other pitchers have done that in that span: Cliff Lee, Hiroki Kuroda and Felix Hernandez.
Garza has made 60 career starts in the NL and 131 in the AL, and there’s been a noticeable difference in his performance, particularly after his trade to the Rangers in 2013. In the NL, he has a 3.45 ERA, in the AL, 4.01.
The Angels are also said to be interested in Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, but with the new posting system being implemented, his Japanese team is unsure if they will post the youngster so the Angels won’t be able to afford to sit around and wait for their decision and watch Garza sign elsewhere and Tanaka isn’t posted in the end.
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