The Angels have bolstered their pitching staff in recent days with a pair of moves. On Wednesday afternoon, the Angels brought back reliever Andrew Bailey on a 1 year deal worth 1 million dollars that also includes incentives. Today, the Angels brought right hander Jess Chavez on board on a 1 year 5.75 million dollar deal that with 3 million dollars in incentives. Neither of these moves changes the 2017 outcome in a huge way but it offers depth and a short commitment, something the Angels would like going into next season.
Bailey, the 2009 American League Rookie of the Year, fell out of relevance for a few years due to nagging injuries and poor performance. From 2012-2016, Bailey put up an ugly 5.14 ERA and 4.83 FIP, which also included his 11.1 inning stint with the Angels last year where he put up a 2.38 ERA. On a 1 year deal, there’s very little downside to this as Bailey offers some sort of decent upside in the 6th-7th innings. There’s talk of Bailey being in the mix for the closer role, which seems unlikely as Cam Bedrosian should get the green light as the closer of the future for the Angels. The 32 year old Bailey cut back on his walks in exchange for a drop in strikeouts with the Angels, which is either random noise or potentially a good sign as he becomes more of a command guy rather than stuff guy in the backend of his career.
Jesse Chavez, 33 years old, was strictly a reliever in 2016 for the Blue Jays and Dodgers, posting 0 WAR, a 4.43 ERA and 4.49 FIP. Moving into a full-time bullpen role bumped his velocity and strikeouts up while trimming his walks but he became more home run prone, partially thanks to pitching in the hitter friendly AL East. Jerry Crasnick reported that the Angels plan to move Chavez back into the rotation, essentially filling out the 2017 rotation as Chavez will slot in as the 5th starter. This is a buy low acquisition for Billy Eppler and the Angels as Chavez was a quality pitcher from 2014-2015 with Oakland. In 303 innings during that time, mostly as a starter, Chavez posted a solid 3.83 ERA with a 3.87 FIP and 3.5 WAR. He brings a nice 4 pitch arsenal, consisting of a 91-94 mph fastball, 89-91 mph cutter, low 80’s curveball and mid 80’s change up.
In a hilariously slim market for pitching, the Angels have basically signaled they don’t plan to spend big and will go the low cost route. Andrew Bailey and Jesse Chavez don’t transform the Angels from pretenders to contenders but they do provide depth for a total cost of 6 million dollars, potentially 10 million with incentives, and have reasonable upside to help the Angels in 2017. Bailey will most likely be used in the 6th-7th innings, essentially in the Fernando Salas role from 2014-2016. Chavez presents a more interesting case as he’s been used in a variety of roles in his career. Realistically, Chavez will make about 15-20 starts for the Angels and also be used in relief. With Eppler building up some decent AAA depth(Alex Meyer, Nate Smith, Vicente Campos, Kyle McGowin, Manny Banuelos, Troy Scribner), Chavez can be used in a unique swingman role if anybody is knocking on the door. With these 2 signings, the Angels will most likely sign 1 more reliever then go find a real second baseman and 4th outfielder to end the offseason.