After landing Anthony Rendon, the Los Angeles Angels turned their attention to Corey Kluber. The Cleveland Indians have been open to trading Kluber for some time, and this could be their best opportunity yet. The Angels need a new arm or two and missed out on Gerrit Cole, who signed with the New York Yankees on Tuesday.
Dylan Bundy was traded for a few days ago, bolstering a starting staff that was one of the worst in MLB in 2019. After pushing all their chips in, the Angels need more. They need an upgrade to their rotation, an anchor every fifth day. There are plenty of options, both on the trade market and remaining in free agency.
Here are three moves they should consider if they can’t land Kluber…
Without the burden of a qualifying offer, Hyun-Jin Ryu’s market is yet to properly develop. The Angels should be near the front of the queue. Entering his age-33 season, Los Angeles could likely get away with a three-year deal – much shorter than they would have to offer fellow free agent starter Madison Bumgarner.
Ryu has had injury issues – just 69 starts over the last four years – but he’s been elite when available. He was a Cy Young contender in the opening months of 2019 and posted a 1.97 ERA in 15 starts in 2018. For an Angels rotation needing such a boost, the durability concerns might put them off. He shouldn’t be overlooked, though, particularly with the benefit of the extra rest in Los Angeles’ six-man staff.
Samardzija’s 2018 was ruined by injury. His numbers weren’t a fair representation as he pitched through pain. He returned to form in 2019, eating innings and reducing loud contact for a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts. The former wide receiver has one-year left – for which he’s owed just shy of $20 million. He’s a low-risk, reliable option for the Angels.
The Giants have already made a deal with the Angels this offseason, acquiring Zack Cozart and Will Wilson in a salary dump. Calling San Francisco again won’t be a priority, but Samardzija could prove to be a good backup if other deals don’t work out. A trade wouldn’t likely take much either, and the Giants could eat some of that salary to pick up an interesting young player.
Check out the Marlins’ demands
Instead of putting one of the Marlins starters at random here, let’s include a few of them. Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Richards, Pablo Lopez and Caleb Smith all have trade value. The cost varies between the quartet, with Alcantara the most expensive. The Angels might not have enough to get a deal done there, but Smith and Richards should be attainable. Cost-controlled, too, it could leave them with excess cash to pick up a veteran like Dallas Keuchel or Homer Bailey.
Miami are in an odd spot. No one really knows when they’ll be ready to contend, though picking up Jesus Aguilar and Jonathan Villar suggests they might be less bad in 2020. It would require an exciting prospect to tempt them to shift any of their arms – the Angels’ farm might not be the best, but they have the pieces to put a deal together if they wanted.