Seven months after signing right-hander Matt Harvey to an $11MM guarantee, the Angels are moving on from the floundering former ace. By my count, Harvey’s one of eight pitchers to receive at least $5MM on a one-year contract since the winter. It’s an arbitrary amount, but as you’ll see below, most of the game’s other fairly expensive short-term hurlers also haven’t lived up to their paydays so far in 2019. To the Angels’ chagrin, Harvey’s not the lone free-agent signing of theirs on this list.
- Unlike the other members of this group, Keuchel was not a winter pickup for his team. He instead went without a club until early June, owing to a steep asking price and a qualifying offer hanging over his head, before accepting the Braves’ one-year offer. The former Cy Young winner with Houston has been a mixed bag in his first month in Atlanta, though it’s worth pointing out he didn’t have the benefit of a spring training. The 31-year-old southpaw has taken the ball six times for the Braves and notched a 3.58 ERA with a 2.87 BB/9 and a 57.7 percent groundball rate, all of which are appealing. Conversely, Keuchel’s 5.23 FIP and 5.26 K/9 through 37 2/3 innings may be cause for alarm.
- Cahill was a low-cost signing entering 2018 for the Athletics, who profited from the 110 effective innings the right-hander gave them as part of a patchwork rotation. The Angels expected something similar this season, but the Cahill addition has blown up in their faces thus far. Cahill was so disappointing as a member of the Halos’ starting staff that they moved him to a relief position several weeks back. Neither role has suited the 31-year-old in 2019, evidenced by his 6.56 ERA/6.20 FIP with 6.81 K/9 and 3.09 BB/9 across 70 innings.
- Yet another regrettable investment for the Angels, Allen lost his place in the organization a month ago and then had to settle for a minor league contract with the Twins. Allen joined the Angels off a mediocre-at-best 2018 with the Indians, but he was an imposing late-game reliever in the preceding years. The Angels were banking on Allen revisiting his halcyon days. Instead, they got a 6.26 ERA/8.39 FIP over 23 innings from the righty. Allen did fan upward of 11 hitters per nine in that span, but he also walked almost eight, induced groundballs at a measly 19.7 percent clip, gave up nine home runs, and experienced a drop in velocity for the second straight season.
- It was no surprise Sabathia and the Yankees stayed together last winter for the final season of the potential Hall of Famer’s career. The 38-year-old lefty has since repaid the Yankees with 82 innings of 4.06 ERA ball and 8.45 K/9 against 3.07 BB/9. Sabathia’s 5.29 FIP and 4.77 xFIP are much less encouraging, but it’s worth noting he also outpitched those metrics in the prior couple years after reinventing himself as a soft-contact specialist. While Sabathia’s average exit velocity against has gone up more than 2 mph since last year, per Statcast, he still ranks in the league’s 88th percentile in terms of hard-hit rate.
- The former Ranger and White Sox revived his career with the Giants last season after they took a flier on him on a minor league pact. That led the Giants to bring back Holland on a guaranteed deal, but the move hasn’t worked out. Holland began the season with seven starts and 32 innings of 6.75 ERA/6.44 FIP pitching, which forced the Giants to demote him to their bullpen in the first half of May. The 32-year-old has done better as a reliever since then, though he still hasn’t been particularly good. Through 33 frames, Holland has recorded a 4.09 ERA/5.03 FIP with 7.64 K/9 against 4.09 BB/9.
- Rosenthal’s similar to Allen as a former standout closer whose career has gone in the tank recently. The Rosenthal signing went so poorly for the Nationals that they released him toward the end of June. The flamethrowing Rosenthal was a stud at times for the Cardinals from 2012-17, but he underwent Tommy John surgery in the last of those seasons and sat out all of 2018. In his return to the majors with the Nationals this year, Rosenthal logged an unfathomable 22.74 ERA with 21.32 BB/9 in 6 1/3 innings. He also spent more than a month on the injured list with a viral infection while on Washington’s roster. After the Nats cut Rosenthal, he caught on with the Tigers on a minor league contract. The 29-year-old is now back in the majors with rebuilding Detroit, having tossed a pair of scoreless innings and posted two strikeouts and two walks as a Tiger.
- As has often been the case during Ross’ career, an injury – an elbow issue this time – has largely kept him from contributing. Ross hasn’t taken a major league mound since May 10, nor does it look as if a return is imminent. Before landing on the shelf, Ross, 32, put up an ugly 6.11 ERA/5.99 FIP with 6.37 K/9 and 4.58 BB/9 in 35 1/3 frames. Ross was serviceable last year between San Diego and St. Louis, however, so the Tigers were likely hoping he’d perform similarly over this season’s first few months and turn into a trade chip around the July 31 deadline. That dream died weeks ago.