The Los Angeles of Anaheim find themselves only three games behind the AL West-leading Rangers despite suffering several setbacks.
The offense has struggled through most of the season, but quality starting pitching has kept them in the playoff hunt.
In the bullpen the Angels have been lead by rookie Jordan Walden. Walden recently broke the club’s rookie save record—a record that Ken Tatum held since 1969. He currently has 23 saves.
Another bright spot for the bullpen has been left-hander Scott Downs. Downs signed a three year, $15 million contract in the offseason and has definitely held up his end of the deal. Downs hasn’t given up a run in over a month and has an ERA of 1.32.
Aside from the Walden and Downs, the bullpen has been disappointing. Francisco Rodney was demoted from his closer role early in the season and hasn’t contributed much since. Others have failed to step up.
For the Angels to catch the mighty Rangers and win the division, they should consider shoring up their bullpen with a trade. Here are four possibilities.
Grant Balfour is a top reliever who would look great in an Angels uniform.
Balfour has a 2.08 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. He has always had a high strikeout to walk ratio and this year is no different. Through 39 innings pitched, he has recorded 40 strikeouts and only 16 walks.
The A’s would not want to give him up, but at this point they are essentially out of the playoff hunt.
Mike Adams has been a rock star this season and was a true All-Star snub. Through 45 innings he has an ERA of 1.20 and a WHIP of 0.71. He has struck out 45 batters—one for every inning pitched—and has five times as many strikeouts as walks.
Adams’ season is no fluke as his numbers are in-line with his prior two seasons. The Angels would be wise to make a run for him.
As sad as it may be, it is late July and it’s already time for Cubs fans to look forward to next year. The Cubbies are in the midst of another disappointing season and currently sit 18 games below .500.
Like Adams, Marshall has recorded five times as many strikeouts as walks. He has an ERA of 3.04, a WHIP of 1.18 and has tallied 18 holds.
A few weeks ago Buster Olney reported that the Cubs are not willing to deal Marshall. I think that if the Angels were to step up and offer the right package, Marshall could be theirs.
The Cubs certainly don’t need his arm this year.
Brad Ziegler has been one of my favorite non-Angels players for a long time.
Maybe it’s his unorthodox, submarine pitching style. Maybe it’s the fact that his name reminds me of the motivational speaker Zig Ziglar.
Despite the odd-looking windup and the funny name, one thing is true about Ziegler—he gets it done.
Ziegler is in his fourth big league season and has pitched well in every one. This year he has an ERA of 1.72 and a WHIP of 1.28. His pitching style would make him an immediate fan favorite in Anaheim and he’d provide a lot of energy out of the bullpen.
The A’s have some great relievers, but would be willing to give one up at the right price. If the Angels want to catch the Rangers, they should aggressively pursue Ziegler.