The Angels have already signed Tyler Anderson this offseason, but the team might not yet be done adding starting pitching, as Corey Kluber is among the names still under consideration, The New York Post’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). Kluber is one of the more prominent arms still remaining on a thinned-out list of free agent starters, and MLBTR rated Kluber 48th on our ranking of the winter’s top 50 free agents.
Entering his age-37 season and what would be his 13th big league campaign, Kluber tossed 164 innings with the Rays last year — an important number considering that injuries limited the right-hander to only 116 2/3 innings total from 2019-21. In addition to the durability, Kluber also had the lowest walk rate (3.0%) of any pitcher in baseball who threw at least 70 innings, while posting a 4.34 ERA/3.85 SIERA and doing a very good job of limiting hard contact.
While control and soft contact were also big parts of Kluber’s skillset in his heyday as Cleveland’s ace, he has experienced a big dropoff in missed bats. Despite a chase rate that was among the best in the game, Kluber’s 20.2% strikeout percentage was well below the league average. Kluber was never a big power pitcher even in his prime, but his fastball velocity dropped down to 88.9mph, and his once-deadly curveball was a borderline below-average pitch in 2022.
Kluber still looks like he can be a positive contributor to a rotation, and with another year removed from the injuries that sidetracked his career, the righty might even be able to take things to a slightly higher level in 2023. The Rays took some extra caution with Kluber last season, as he only twice pitched as many as seven innings, and only hit the 90-pitch plateau in six of his 31 starts.
The Angels could continue this usage, as signing Kluber or another starter would seemingly indicate that Anaheim is considering going back to a six-man rotation. The rotation currently lines up as Shohei Ohtani, Anderson, Patrick Sandoval, Jose Suarez, and Reid Detmers, and a sixth pitcher would help keep everyone fresh (in particular Ohtani, given his dual workload as a hitter).
Kluber’s age and injury history limited him to one-year contracts in each of the last two offseasons, as he signed with the Yankees for $11MM prior to the 2021 campaign and then $8MM last winter with the Rays. Such a deal would line up with the Angels’ general preference for shorter-term and lower-cost deals with starting pitchers, though the three-year, $39MM deal with Anderson (which also had draft compensation attached) represented a slight stretch beyond the Halos’ usual comfort zone.
Since the Angels also haven’t exceeded the Competitive Balance Tax threshold since 2004, it is notable that a Kluber contract in that $8-$11MM range would get the team even closer to the CBT line. Roster Resource projects Los Angeles for a tax number of just under $220.3MM. However, Angels GM Perry Minasian has said that ownership hasn’t given him instruction about staying under the tax line, so the luxury tax might not be a huge consideration this winter. Even if it’s likelier than the team might just exceed the threshold rather than blow past it (say, to $253MM and the first penalty tier), the Angels have been pretty aggressively checking the market. In addition to Anderson, the Halos also signed Carlos Estevez and Brandon Drury in free agency, plus they swung trades to add Hunter Renfroe and Gio Urshela.
I hear the Braves are offering 1 year/$1.8M. Gonna be tough to beat that.
Saint Nick you are not.
The Guardians are “in” on Kluber for a homecoming reunion. They have a corresponding deal for Zach Plesac for additional RH bat help if they can get Kluber signed.
That’s not too much, could easily see the price raised by another team. I assume this is sarcasm?
4 lefties in 1 rotation.
Would that be any different than four righties in a rotation. The White Sox have five right handed starters in their rotation.
I mean considering that RHB tend to have a platoon advantage I think it could be problematic, especially in the postseason.
It was said the cards didn’t want to resign Quintana because they would have had 3 in their rotation.
Fever Pitch Guy
kremer – The assumption that all pitchers are less effective when facing hitters on the other side of the plate is hilariously false.
For instance Wacha is a RHP who is far more effective against LHB.
Hilariously false? There are very few pitchers with statistically-significant reverse splits.
Platoon advantage isn’t up for debate.
Fever Pitch Guy
Ted – Last time I checked it was around 20%, which is more than enough to justify my statement that “not all” pitchers are less effective when facing hitters on the other side of the plate.
That’s the problem with those who misuse statistics, they stereotype by painting all players with a broad brush.
@kremer – I dont think the Angels will have to worry about the postseason.
Anderson is the only one of them who didn’t have a large platoon split.
Sandoval’s is very heavily skewed. The Angels only RH starter is also their DH.
They could really use a righty to balance that rotation out a little bit.
Considering? He ain’t a piece of meat!
1 year/$4M w/ $1M buyout on a $6M option?
1 game/$32 million with an opt-out after the 4th inning.
Angels should be considering everybody at this point.
steven st croix
They have been for the last 3 years
Top pitching staff last year so what were you saying?
Top pitching ya saying…really? Tell me more! They have many CY Young winners over there in Anaheim? They a real contender over there in Anaheim, with that top pitching staff last year? C’mon tell me, c’mon Jack…tell a fella! I wanna know more!
Wow, I bet they’re real swell to watch over there in Anaheim Mister.
You know nothing about the Angels. Their starting pitching is quite good.
Are you high, drunk, or stupid?
Angels suck. They have sucked for years.
Obviously, you are ignorant on one of your teams biggest issues…among many!
Anaheim is a destination where pitchers go to die! Long ago are the days of John Lackey, Troy Percavil, Francisco Rodriguez, etc…
Get a new owner, move to the LBC and then let’s try this conversation again.
And Suarez, the Angels 5th starter had a post May ERA of 3.69. Detmers 3.36. Sandoval under 3. Ohtani under 2.. And Anderson had a 2.57 ERA. You people are idiots.
@Halo11, these guys aren’t here to discuss baseball. Nothing but the basic boring trolls. I honestly wish the moderators filtered them out.
I agree the Angels are solid in starters, but I also wouldn’t mind seeing them go out and get a league average or better right hander. If signing a FA probably Wacha.
My biggest hope is they trade for Maeda and to a lesser extent Sonny Gray but either would be nice.
I feel like it would put a little more stability the rotation in case of injury. Because all of the non Angel fans are clamouring for an Ohtani trade, the Halos need to go into the first half without any holes in the rotation to ward off the constant negativity.
I have faith in Detmers and Sandoval, but I also would like to see Detmers fight a little more for a spot. Same with Suarez.
My ideal would be
Ohtani, Anderson, Sandoval, Maeda, Detmers and either Suarez or Silseth as the occasional 6th man.
Then there is Barria to pick up on games and eat innings when starters have the occasional rough start.
Talent-wise, I think its
Ohtani, Maeda, Sandoval, Detmers, Anderson but that isnt the order they would likely choose.
Rodriguez and Canning coming back too.
troutfishing – I like all of that except for Canning. I don’t think he has what it takes to help the team win over the entire season, even if he stays healthy, which is a huge question mark. I think Rodriguez has higher potential to help the team long term.
Ohtani will pitch every 6th day, I think most of these guys will, the sixth starter will be skipped often. I’d much rather add a good bullpen arm that has a fastball,
The Angels are going for the hope and pray bullpen approach again. To me, that’s their biggest weakness by far. I like the depth moves, just so long as Rengifo doesn’t get regular ABs.
Agree the Angels have a solid rotation, but people have very short memories. Injuries hit every rotation and many of the Angels SPs don’t have a long history of,being good. Expect some of he young ones to struggle at times. Depth is also short on proven SPs with a track record.
They need at least 1 solid and safe SP for insurance. Preferably someone with a track record of 200 IP, even if it’s a 4-5 type.
Couple of injuries or a regression and suddenly they are starting 4A guys again.
For the record I dont want Rodriguez or Canning in the rotation next year. I believe both should pitch out of the bullpen and if they get another arm like Maeda, Gray or Wacha, Suarez should also pitch out of the pen as a similar manner to Barria.
Anaheim historically has a been a place for pitchers to flourish, just like Dodger Stadium. And like the Dodgers, the Angels made it a point to develop pitching and that was their key focus, but unlike the Dodgers, they moved away from that to an extent over the last ten years. If Anaheim is a place where pitchers go to die, it’s because of acquiring pitchers like Nolasco, Harvey, Cahill, Bundy, Teheran, and Quintana when they all clearly came with major red flags already. That even includes Iglesias, who, despite having wicked strikeout stuff, everyone knew had a big problem with the long ball. Then there’s bringing in too many minor league journeymen into the bullpen. Yet Cobb and Thor came over and succeeded, because they both had a higher ceiling to begin with. Another big reason is that Marcel Lachemann is still working with the Angels during spring training, and he’s been a big part of their pitching development for about 40 years. They also turned Garrett Richards into an ace before his injuries. Reid Detmers has managed to become an effective starter very quickly. Patrick Sandoval is emerging. Heck, how many organizations can just take an unknown career minor leaguer like Matt Shoemaker and turn him into an effective starter (before his injuries)? If the Angels had stuck to their philosophy and drafted more starting pitching in the higher rounds (without having to draft all pitchers in 2021) over the last decade, they would’ve been in much better shape. Other than that, if a pitcher who is actually good enough at the right point in their career comes to Anaheim, they are likely to continue said success, or become better because of the more pitcher friendly run scoring environment.
I looked at the schedule and the off days are set up to where they’ll still need that sixth starter quite often.
That’s still an improvement when you have 780 roster spots throughout MLB.
Ohtani, Anderson, Sandoval, Detmers, Suarez… and then the starter they’re trying to add. Barria is next on the depth chart and is their primary swing man. Canning would likely start in AAA or could be a second swing man.
So is Steve Cohen. It’s not about the owner being so involved. It’s about how far the owner is willing to go with the payroll.
Anaheim is not close to a pitchers ballpark. It’s now a pretty solid hitters park.
People need to keep up with current events. It’s easy. The RF wall makes a huge difference.
Did a google search. You can do the same. Last year Dodger stadium was ranked 4th best hitters park, Anaheim the 8th. With weather patterns and stadium changes, the Dodgers elimated lot of foul territory for example, things always change.
11, what u have there holds some weight. That said thou, a big factor that’s not added in is the talent on the field. It’s just not weather there more of a power team or not, it could be pitching. Even if there talented, you could have a more fly ball pitching staff.
That said, with both the LA changes to the park. I’d move them up to more neutral now. Not slightly pitcher friendly like in the past.
Consider everyone who can break 89MPH
Every offseason I hear myself saying “I hope my team goes out there and gets the 48th best free agent.”
And if you did, that’d be an improvement over most of what you got from chaim bloom if you were a Boston fan.
Fever Pitch Guy
GASox – I expect Bloom to lead MLB in signings between Jan 20 and the start of ST.
Rich Hill will get Bloom’s phonecall around Groundhog Day.
Man, I really hope the Angels back off this and just finally pull the trigger on a trade for Maeda.
I believe in you Perry!
So basically the Angels have no faith in Tucker Davidson and want to sign an upgrade.
Angels & NL West
Don’t think I’m on board with Kluber, but I’d be happy if the Angels signed a guy like Eovaldi making Davidson a depth piece in SLC. I’m also hoping Silseth, Bush and Bachman show progress and become SP options ahead of Davidson.
Chaim is too busy asking everyone in the front office if they should pony up 2 yr/17 mil
I’m feeling good about the Angels’ five starting pitchers, and am hopeful for one of the youngsters or Canning to be a decent #6, but with someone bound to go to down at some point, a proven player like Kluber on a one-year deal would be good investment for depth.
Why would you feel good about Canning? He’s basically been hurt for two years and he posted bad numbers when he was healthy. I don’t get it.
Carllafong, I said I feel good about the starting 5.
And that I am HOPEFUL about one of the youngsters or Canning….
I see. Hope is not a strategy for winning– proven players are. We can hope Canning can contribute at some point but we can’t enter a season after finishing 34 games out of first with the hope that a guy who hasn’t pitched in two years is a reliable and effective starter.
Hence my support for signing Kluber though I’d prefer Eovaldi like you.
The Angels will win around 75 to 80 games as usual. You need players with heartbeats to win titles and sadly the Angels only have Ohtani. There’s no way Anderson pitches close to how he did in LA he’s in .500 land now and will pitch accordingly.
Eovaldi, Wacha, Cueto, Carrasco— not Kluber. For the love of PETE–NO!
Fever Pitch Guy
carl – You take Hill, I’ll take Kluber … deal?
Fun fact: Charlie Sheens real name is Carlos Estevez.
The Angels have the Wild Thing!
Bring back Grienke
He couldn’t get me out !
20 of your 82 hits in 61 went for home runs. Not many got you out dude
Angels we have seen on mound
Sweetly slinging o’er the plate
And the batters strong resound
Echoing their dubious fate
Angels we have seen in field
Sweetly, sweetly throw to first
And the grounders slowly yield
Echoing their winning thirst
Gloria, in exalted Kluber
Gloria, we salute Franz Gruber (Silent Night)
Please no! My Christmas wish stay away from this signing.
First, Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your holidays are filled with joy and peace.
For the true Angels fans out here, I have a question about surfacing rumors over the past couple days. I’ve heard a few [very] select baseball podcasts positing that Mike Trout has indicated he would like to go to the Yankees. Now, despite the voracity of the statement, I cannot envision a scenario where that actually comes to fruition – it simply doesn’t track for me. I also heard from these same baseball talking heads that Trout doesn’t get along with Ohtani.
This seems to be clickbait type stuff to me, but I am not dialed into the Angels enough to know their clubhouse culture & politics. Has any credence been given to either of these rumors out in Halo Land?
Wishing you all the best this holiday season –
Merry Christmas Clipper!
I have not heard a peep about those rumors. Considering how Moreno has wasted Trout’s career by surrounding him with a losing team year after year, I can see how Trout could have a desire to leave.
With Trout and Ohtani, I haven’t heard that at all.
Disclaimer – No one in the baseball world ever calls me to fill me in so I am the last person who would hear anything.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Thanks Prov, you too sir! I doubt there’s any truth to it. It’s highly suspect to me.
“6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 KJV)”
There are many websites, podcasts, and broadcasts that compete with one another for viewers 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. I suspect that some of them, if not all of them, from time to time take a rumor with little to no truth, and run with it to generate attention and interest. It is nice to have a variety of news sources, but it can also be a negative because the competition may lead to fake or false news for profit.
Clip, Merry Christmas to you & the MLBTR community! Let every heart prepare Him room!
Blessings on all in this family!
Clipper, that is click bait stuff. Trout wants to stay. Trout and Ohtani are always laughing together. They like each other and really, I can’t see anyone that Trout or Ohtani doesn’t get along with.
Merry Christmas to Clipper, Prov, and all the regulars here, whether I agree with you or not! May we all be given a positive outcome for our favorite team that is unexpected in the New Year!
Thanks Stymeedone! Merry Christmas!
You too Stymee! Thanks brother.
Kluber is a good innings eater at this point, most teams could use him.
He is? What year are you living in? He maxes out at about 5 innings and 90 pitches… if he can stay healthy. And that’s a big if.
I understand Arte Moreno is still making free agent decisions? Please just sell the team already
I understand the opposite.
Billy Eppler wasn’t good enough for Arte Moreno, but apparently he’s docile enough to serve as Steve Cohen’s assistant GM.
Strange game. Still, you have to applaud the Angels for trolling the GM they fired. Eppler was so bad with pitching the Angels decided to highlight how bad he was by drafting pitching, pitching, and nothing but pitching in their 2021 draft. Never happened before, that I can tell.
That’s cold. Funny, but cold.
It was hard to see before, but with their young starters emerging behind Ohtani, I’m now seeing more benefits of the six man rotation they’re using. Now they can look for more mid rotation/back end starters, particularly those like Kluber who can have a bit more extra rest at this stage in his career. Or, they can sign Eovaldi, who would more likely be their #3, and just push the other three down. Both scenarios would likely put Jose Suarez into that sixth starter role, which might be more ideal for him instead of trying to get a Seth Lugo type to fill that role.
@RyanWKrol They don’t need to go to a 6-man rotation just because of Ohtani, fwiw. He can go on 5 days rest while you keep everyone else on 4 days rest. Someone gets bumped, but it can be done. Ohtani’s #1 here, and you don’t necessarily need to order your 2 through 6 in order of skill.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
6, 1, 3, 4, 5,
6, 2, 1, 4, 5,
6, 2, 3, 1, 5,
6, 2, 3, 4, 1,
6, 2, 3, 4, 5,
1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
In this version the non-Ohtanis get a turn skipped every 6th start. Is that better or worse than putting pitchers into a 6-man rotation? You decide….
Hey Jack, kinda like what u have here. Nice thinking outside the box. Thumbs up!
This would be a great signing, if the Angels had a time machine.
No worries, he just got signed. I was leaning on the side of Queto for best remaining get anyways. He’d be a solid #5/6 to eat innings for SP depth, and push Silseth to 1st man up.