The Los Angeles Angels bullpen’s fourteen blown saves in 2020 were the most in Major League Baseball. First-year general manager Perry Minasian non-tendered most eligible relief pitchers in November. Acquired Cincinnati Reds closer Raisel Iglesias for Noe Ramirez in December and continued grabbing veterans this winter. Alex Claudio, Junior Guerra, and Alex Slegers were among the notable relievers added going into Spring Training.
Monday afternoon, the Angels continued adding to their bullpen with a trio of acquisitions that bolsters their bullpen.
They first acquired 34-year-old pitcher Hoyt from the Miami Marlins in exchange for cash considerations. The right-handed relievers velocity dropped into mid-80’s last year but his slider is still an effective out pitch. The Idaho native struck out 20, walking 8, in 14.2 innings pitched for Miami last season.
His ERA was only 1.23 in 24 appearances with a 1.16 WHIP and 12.27 strikeouts per nine innings. Hoyt historically struggles against left-handed hitters but has owned right-handed hitters during his five MLB seasons. He will likely figure into a middle innings role for Joe Maddon’s Angels’ bullpen corps.
The Angels signed veteran right-handed reliever Cishek who was released by Houston last week. The 34-year-old finished 2020 with a 5.40 ERA in 22 games for the Chicago White Sox. In 2019, he pitched 70 games for Angels’ manager Maddon with the 2019 Chicago Cubs.
Cishek an outstanding addition setting up Iglesias in late innings for Halos in 2021. https://t.co/6a0zu32FSf
— Halo Life ⚾ (@_HaloLife) March 30, 2021
Once a closer who saved 39 games, Cishek will join Mike Mayers in setting up Iglesias in late innings. His side-arm delivery still deceives opposing hitters with his mid-80’s slider and 90 mph sinker. He joins the Angels with 594 MLB appearances under his belt with a 2.78 ERA and 132 career saves
The Angels rounded out their bullpen improvements by signing 35-year-old lefty set-up man Watson. He had been in camp with the Philadelphia Phillies before requesting his release last week. He struggled with a 7.20 ERA for the Phillies but recorded 7 strikeouts in 5 Grapefruit League innings this spring.
Last season for the San Francisco Giants, Watson finished the year with a 2.50 ERA in 21 games. During his 11 MLB seasons with the Pirates, Dodgers, and Giants he has a 2.80 ERA in 627 games. He will join fellow newcomer Alex Claudio as the second left-handed reliever added by Angels this offseason.
The Revamped Bullpen
The final bullpen will be determined in the next 48 hours and these moves will certainly result in several demotions. Iglesias, Mayers, Cishek, Watson, Hoyt, and Claudio will almost certainly be six of Joe Maddon’s eight-man bullpen.
Perry Minasian stated Monday evening that 22-year-old hurler Chris Rodriguez will make the bullpen. Rodriguez high-90’s fastball and devastating sliders excited many hopeful fans this spring. He missed much of the past several seasons recovering from injuries and has impressed this spring.
CRod was dealing again in the seventh for the Angels tonight. https://t.co/1Hmy8RyukZ
— Halo Life ⚾ (@_HaloLife) March 16, 2021
The final spot to be decided between Junior Guerra, Aaron Slegers, and Noe Ramirez. The latter just re-signed after Cincinnati waived him last week after acquiring him from the Angels in December. Mayers and Ramirez are the only two pitchers of this group that were Angels last season.
Patrick Sandoval and Jamie Barria have options and will likely be assigned to the alternate site. Both likely will be members of Salt Lake’s starting rotation when the Triple-A season begins in early May. The Angels are clearly in it to win it in 2021 and their new general manager is ready to make moves when needed.