The Angels are known to be in the market for left-handed bullpen help, and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale specifies that the Halos “have strong interest” in Zack Britton’s services. The two sides have yet to line up on a contract, as Nightengale writes that the Angels’ interest may only hinge on getting Britton at a lower amount than his asking price of roughly $9MM.
It is easy to understand the team’s hesitation, given that Britton has barely pitched (19 total innings) over the last two seasons due to injury. Bone chips in Britton’s elbow hampered his 2021 performance, and a Tommy John surgery then sidelined the reliever for virtually all of the 2022 campaign. Though Britton recently held a showcase to display his health for scouts, there’s naturally a good amount of uncertainty over what can be expected from the southpaw as he heads into his age-35 season.
From Britton’s perspective, a $9MM guarantee is a reasonable ask for a pitcher who was arguably baseball’s best reliever from 2014-20, posting elite numbers with the Orioles and Yankees. As noted by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Matt Strahm’s two-year, $15MM deal with the Phillies seemed to throw off the market for left-handed relievers, to the point that Britton and fellow free agent southpaws Andrew Chafin and Matt Moore might still be unsigned because they feel they deserve to top Strahm in either total value, average annual value, or both. (Nightengale writes that Chafin and Moore are also looking for around $9MM, though it isn’t clear if that translates to multi-year deal worth $9MM per season, or if either is open to a one-year commitment.)
Rosenthal’s report also cited the Angels as only one of 10 teams who were still looking at adding a left-handed reliever, so with this many potential suitors, Britton — and Chafin and Moore — might feel there’s enough interest that at least one club will eventually pay up. Speculatively, each of the three free agents also might be in some sense waiting to see which of the group signs first, as that deal could also reset the market.
The Angels already made one notable bullpen signing this winter in landing Carlos Estevez on a two-year, $13.5MM contract. The flame-throwing Estevez will factor into a closer mix that also includes Jimmy Herget and Ryan Tepera, but elsewhere in the Halos’ bullpen, Aaron Loup, Jose Quijada, and perhaps Tucker Davidson are the left-handed options. Since Loup and Quijada were each only okay in 2022, there’s certainly room for the Angels to add more help from the left side, and Britton’s past experience as a closer might also add to the list of ninth-inning candidates.
Signing Britton, Moore, or Chafin would add another noteworthy salary to an Angels payroll that is already projected by Roster Resource to sit at approximately $220.2MM. Though the Angels haven’t surpassed the luxury tax threshold since 2004, GM Perry Minasian said earlier this winter that owner Arte Moreno had no mandate against staying under the tax line. As such, there wouldn’t appear to be any obstacle to the Halos topping the $233MM threshold by signing Britton and perhaps another player or two, though naturally the front office might balk if they simply don’t value at a $9MM price point.
One player who isn’t on Anaheim’s radar is Gary Sanchez, Nightengale reports. Rookie prospect Logan O’Hoppe (acquired from the Phillies in the Brandon Marsh deal last summer) and veteran Max Stassi comprise the Angels’ current catching tandem, with Chad Wallach and Jose Godoy providing more depth in the minors. The Halos did have interest in Willson Contreras before Contreras signed with the Cardinals, but it isn’t clear if Los Angeles was looking at a catching upgrade in general, or Contreras was just a specific target as the top catcher on the free agent market.
Regardless, it doesn’t appear that Sanchez is under consideration. The former two-time All-Star has hit only .195/.287/.394 with 49 homers over 1089 plate appearances since the start of the 2020 season, translating to a 90 wRC+. Between that decline at the plate and Sanchez’s inconsistent defense, the Twins were willing to move on from Sanchez after the season (signing Christian Vazquez instead), and the Giants’ interest in Sanchez may have dried up since San Francisco inked Roberto Perez to a contract earlier today.
The Baseball Fan
9 mil seems like an awful lot for Britton…
deGrom Texas Ranger
He has bad peripherals and others should be better. I was thinking an NRI would be reasonable. It’s odd how Danny Duffy had recent success and still only got a minor league deal, while a guy whose last good season was in 2020 and had 2 bad years is looking for 9 MM. At this price, just go for Hand/Chafin/Moore. I’d prefer one reliever in the Hand over Moor(e) in the (Matt) Bush. This may be 9 million over 2 years or even 3, given how writers mindlessly use total value and annual value interchangeably (Twins signed Correa last year of only 105 million).
You are “pun”-ishing us man!
He better keep his head on a swivel if he has bad peripherals.
You must be a native of Pun-Sylvania…..
I’m a weird way, his groundball inducing pitching style has always led to him “over-performing” his peripherals even in his elite years. He’s kinda proven that publicly available sabermetrics don’t accurately forecast him for whatever reason.
That’s Scott Boras talking the 9 million.
Ironic that this was the first MLBTR update I saw considering I just blazed buddah and watched Angels In The Outfield with Danny Glover lol
Nice evening there.
Hell yeah bruthur
Yes, $9 million definitely seems way too much for Britton I agree, especially after he’s coming off injury. I think $6 million with incentives to make a few million more makes more sense for the Halo’s.
I think I still hate him for blowing the cornfield game lol
And I’ll always love Tim Anderson for ending that game.
Haha good one breaux 🙂
Plus a vesting option for a higher ’24 guarantee. I wouldn’t do $9M either.
With our luck he’ll blow out the elbow signing the contract.
That said, we need more than a few lucky breaks to really make some noise. For $6 million plus incentives, this would be a decent gamble.
Remember that time Sanchez referred to the “3 headed monster” of Judge, Stanton and himself? Lol
Maybe Gary can lose 54lbs and hit his weight this year.
He was better as Zach Britton.
Zack is definitely better
He will blow his elbow knee and right shoulder at the same time because Angels pitching luck
In their seemingly endless quest for pitching depth, the California Angels have “crossed the pond” and are now evaluating BRITTON !!
For $9 million, just say no Minassian. His time was in the past. If he is willing to cut that in half with incentives or a vesting option, then sign him. Otherwise, run what you brung.
Who they get now no the
Market is going to be a waste of money. And the angels seem to waste a lot of money on players that make no sense. These past few year seems like they waste every opportunity to shine. My heart goes out to Mike Trout the Mickey Mantle of the west.
An over priced, injury prone old lefty.
Sounds about right for what Perry usually picks up…
Supposedly at the end of last season, Britton and the Yankees were working on a deal to bring him back. If he’s asking $9 million, I see why nothing ever came of it.
the orioles got the best years out of britton .then they traded to ny, for dillon tate, who is a stud out of baltimores bull pen.
I wouldn’t exactly call a 29-year-old reliever with a career ERA and matching FIP nearing 4.00 after parts of four seasons in the majors a stud. Useful.
The trade worked well for both teams. After Britton became a free agent and the Yankees re-signed him is when problems occurred. The last two years of the contract anyway.
deGrom Texas Ranger
I would do 9 million…
… over 3 years total
We just paid Estevez 7 million a season, why not 9 for Britton if he’s healthy, which seems he can’t stay that way.
Why has Jose Godoy never played more than 81 games in a season.. and he’s been playing in the minors since 2012!
Britton is laughable. His career is long past its usefulness, yet he believes walking over 4 batters per 9 innings as a reliever is worth $9 million. Lolz
Go sign a minor league deal with major league incentives to prove yourself, Zack. You fraud.
the angels have alot of problems.i dont see how britton solves any of them.its a shame because they have a good fan base,and two of the best players in the game.and yet again the only thing keeping them out of last place is the oakland athletics.they seem to be that team that i cant figure out,what the problem is or what they are trying to do.maybe an angels fan can explain the long term plan is in anaheim?
Maybe a year at 6m with incentives to max at 9m plus player and team options for a second year at 10m guaranteed.
Looks like another disappointing season. Mike Trout and Ohtani we’re suckered on staying with the team. I really thought these past couple of years they would have gotten some really good pitching. When Ohtani, leaves the team next year make sure you take Trout “The Kid” The Mantle of the west with you. He really deserves a winning team.
Feel like another starter is more of a need than BP help at this point. Both would be ideal.
Hold out a bit longer until prices drop a bit more and get both positions for $9 on one year deals.