Two decades ago, the then-Anaheim Angels hoisted up the World Series trophy after defeating the San Francisco Giants. From then on, the Los Angeles Angels have failed to find that same success, even with superstar Mike Trout in the outfield and providing fear into opposing teams.
The Angels then made a splashy move to sign two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani. Despite that, the Angels have been absent from the MLB playoffs since 2014. Even then, they lost in the ALDS to the Kansas City Royals.
Now, the Angels are doing whatever it takes to get into the playoffs and just spent $21 million to help their chances of getting there for the 2022 season.
Angels spend huge money to bring in Noah Syndergaard
This is a massive deal for the Angels, who are desperately in need of some pitching. Syndergaard, when healthy, is one of the best pitchers in the MLB.
The talented pitcher was offered the qualifying offer from the New York Mets but wanted to explore deals elsewhere. The qualifying offer would have landed Syndergaard $18.4 million, so his decision to sign for a few extra million is surprising — especially after spending his entire career with the Mets.
But, there were other teams interested in Syndergaard, including a couple of American League contenders.
Nonetheless, $21 million for Syndergaard is a massive deal, even more after considering his lack of pitches thrown over the previous two seasons.
The Angels big signing comes with massive risk
Yes, there is a tremendous risk here. When healthy, Syndergaard is dynamic. However, he has not been healthy over the past few seasons.
Since the beginning of the 2020 season, he has thrown just two innings — both of them in the 2021 season. Injuries galore have derailed the former All-Star pitcher.
Before that, he got shelled in the 2019 season. He finished with a 10-8 record but a 4.28 ERA in 32 starts for the Mets. Even in 2017, Syndergaard had just seven starts.
So, while Syndergaard in the same rotation as Ohtani is scary on paper, both pitchers have an injury history. Moreover, $21 million is a gigantic risk to take, but one the Angels need to do if they want any shot at finally getting back to the playoffs.
The MLB pitching market has a massive standard after Syndeergard deal
Syndergaard leaving the Mets was writing on the wall. They refused to trade him over the years and were hoping he would accept the qualifying offer.
But, he didn’t, and that raises the question of whether or not the Mets would match the Angels offer. Well, it doesn’t matter, as Thor is headed West.
On the same day, the Toronto Blue Jays signed Jose Berrios to a massive contract extension.
Berrios and Syndergaard have now set the standard for the MLB pitching market, and both deals can be assessed to significant risk. The Berrios deal makes sense for both sides, especially after the Blue Jays gave up quite a bit to acquire him at the MLB trade deadline.
With the MLB offseason about to get wild, Syndergaard and Berrios kicked things off in epic fashion and got big money in the process.
Is Syndergaard worth it for the Angels?
Is he the piece that completes the puzzle and can return them to relevant October baseball? There are so many questions to answer about the Angels, but the fact is, they are going to do whatever it takes to get Trout and Ohtani into the playoffs.
Stats Courtesy of Baseball Reference