The Angels have been tragically inept at building around arguably the two best players in baseball right now. Most of the time, if a roster has both Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani on it, they should be competitive. While injuries have played a role here (in addition to some bad contracts), one of the biggest reasons the Angels HAVEN’T been particularly competitive has been due to woeful pitching.
It is clear that GM Perry Minasian is looking to fix that in the short and long-term. In the 2021 MLB Draft, every single player the Angels picked were pitchers. In theory, at least a few of those guys will turn into at least useful major leaguers. Moreover, the Angels have plenty of talent on the offensive side of the ball...so focusing on such a glaring roster weakness with such ferocity certainly has some merit.
That doesn’t solve the Angels’ short-term pitching woes, though, and the Angels made a pretty significant move towards remedying that.
BREAKING: Right-hander Noah Syndergaard and the Los Angeles Angels are in agreement on a one-year, $21 million deal, pending physical, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 16, 2021
The Angels bolster their staff with the highest-upside arm on the market — and pay a heavy price, plus a second-rounder.
Noah Syndergaard was probably the highest upside pitcher on the free agent market. There is no denying how dominant he can be when he is healthy thanks to one of the better fastball/slider combinations you are likely to see. However, he has had real problems staying healthy and he also had a qualifying offer attached to his free agency. While the Angels have to give up a draft pick to sign him, doing so for a one-year deal gives Syndergaard a chance to rebuild his value while not forcing the Angels to commit a ton of money on a long-term deal for a pitcher with health risks.
As for the Mets, this feels like a situation that Syndergaard could have gotten this same deal from New York but he was ready to move on. Now the Mets another roster hole to fill and a new GM (oddly enough, former Angels GM Billy Eppler just got the Mets’ top job) having to fill it.