Saturday brought a celebratory mood to Anaheim, as the Angels conducted a press conference welcoming their newest second-best player, Anthony Rendon. While the presser included several interesting quotes on the part of Rendon–including his preference for Anaheim over LA due to its family-oriented atmosphere–the most interesting takeaway from the day may have been GM Billy Eppler’s statements indicating that the club remains “actively engaged” in the market for pitching. Jeff Fletcher of the OC Register passes along Eppler’s quotes, which indicate that Rendon’s signing will not preclude the club from going after impact pitching.
“We will continue to look at pitching,” Eppler is quoted as saying in Fletcher’s article. “I’m still actively engaged in that marketplace.” Eppler allowed that the club could have payroll space for two possible pitching acquisitions. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Madison Bumgarner, and Dallas Keuchel represent the high-end remaining options on the open market, and we’ve already heard the club connected to Indians hurler Corey Kluber today–even if a later report characterized the Halos as “out” in the Kluber trade race.
Regarding the trade market on pitching in general, Eppler said that asking prices are a bit too aggressive for LA’s liking at the moment. “The prices are a little rich right now,” Eppler said of the market. “I’m not sure I’m going to engage at the level clubs are asking right now, but I know I can play if I want to.” As for whether the free agent options available will prove too rich as well, we’ve already heard that Bumgarner is seeking to surpass the nine-figure mark with his next contract, although price estimates have been murkier in regard to Ryu and Keuchel. But Ryu’s old team, the Dodgers, don’t seem to be chomping at the bit at this stage to retain the Korean lefty–perhaps the chance to draw away both Rendon and Ryu from their rivals to the north would be an added delight for Eppler and Co.
As for the added appeal Rendon represents for Anaheim as a free agent destination, agent Scott Boras opined that the third baseman “absolutely” makes the Angels a more desirable club for pitchers–a statement noteworthy in that Boras represents both Keuchel and Ryu. “I think the Angels, in the pitching community, are viewed as a team that is very different than the team that entered the offseason,” Boras said. “No question.” As it stands now, the club projects to enter 2020 with Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning, Patrick Sandoval, Jaime Barria, Shohei Ohtani, and the recently acquired Dylan Bundy as starting pitching options.