On Thursday afternoon, the Angels reached an agreement on a one-year, $9 million contract with former Atlanta Braves right-handed starter Julio Teheran. The 28-year-old Teheran is a veteran of nine big league seasons and brings the Angels the much-needed reliability of a durable Major League starter. Teheran has averaged pitching more than 190 innings across the past seven seasons with the Braves. He will join fellow Angels new-comer Dylan Bundy, Andrew Heaney, Shohei Ohtani, Griffin Canning, and Patrick Sandoval as the Angels’ top six candidates for the Opening Day rotation.
The Colombian-born Teheran was signed by the Braves in 2007 as a 16-year-old and ascended through the Braves’ system quickly. He made his MLB debut with Atlanta in 2011 as a 20-year-old, established himself as a regular in the Braves’ rotation in 2013, and never looked back. Teheran has started 30 or more games each season since 2013 and was named to the National League All-Star teams in 2014 and 2016. Across the past seven consecutive seasons, Teheran has never pitched fewer than 174 innings and struck out less than 151 hitters. Trevor Cahill led the 2019 Angels pitching staff with 102.1 innings pitched while Andrew Heaney led the staff with 118 strikeouts.
Julio Teheran found himself as the veteran of a young, developing Atlanta Braves staff last spring featuring Mike Soroka, Max Fried, and others. By the time the Braves reached the post-season, Teheran found himself the fifth starter behind Keuchel, Foltynewicz, Sorotka, and Fried. Teheran finished the 2019 regular season 10-11 with a 3.81 ERA across 174.2 innings. He walked 83 batters while striking out an additional 162 hitters.
The Angels’ starting pitching staff was among the worst in baseball last season. The Angels were engaged in talks with Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, and Zack Wheeler before they all signed with other organizations.
The addition of Teheran will likely not impact Billy Eppler’s discussions with Dallas Keuchel or Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Angels have also been linked in potential trade discussions with the Tigers regarding Matthew Boyd and the Red Sox for David Price.
More importantly for the Angels is the optics of this signing following the public relations nightmare they found themselves in a year ago. Last season’s one-year signings of Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahill, Cody Allen, and Jonathan Lucroy all failed to meet anything close to their expectations. So far this month, the Angels have acquired Dylan Bundy, signed All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon, and now added a second new starting pitcher in Julio Teheran.
Billy Eppler can now continue his search to improve the team with at least the addition to two new starters and will likely be signing a free agent catcher in the coming weeks. The Teheran addition could potentially allow Eppler to consider using young MLB-ready pitching to acquire another starting pitcher or catcher from another organization looking to reduce payroll.
The Joe Maddon-led Los Angels Angels have only two months until they begin preparing for their first Cactus League games in Tempe, Ariz. Angels fans will continue to wait patiently as their MLB roster fills itself out in the coming weeks.