Report: Cody Allen, Angels Agree to 1-Year Contract in $9 Million Range

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 31: Cody Allen #37 of the Cleveland Indians in the dugout prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field on August 31, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Cody Allen has reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Angels, according to ESPN.com's Jeff Passan and Alden Gonzalez.

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal first reported Allen and the Angels were working on a one-year deal pending a physical. Passan provided more details on the negotiations:

On Friday, Rosenthal reported the deal was worth $8.5 million guaranteed, with another $2.5 million in bonuses. 

The 30-year-old right-hander is coming off the worst season of his MLB career. His 4.70 ERA was nearly two runs higher than his 2017 mark (2.94), and his 4.56 FIP ranked 131st among qualified relievers.

Allen's poor ERA and FIP weren't the results of a few bad outings either, which can sometimes happen with relief pitchers given their limited usage. He averaged 10.7 strikeouts and 4.4 walks per nine innings, his worst marks in each category since his rookie year in 2012.

Allen deserved some share of the blame for Cleveland Indians relievers' collective rankings of 26th in FIP (4.53) and 30th in home runs per nine innings (1.51).

Historically speaking, relievers age less gracefully than starting pitchers. Even a slight dip in velocity can carry significant consequences for a relief pitcher.

That may be what's happening with Allen. According to Brooks Baseball, he averaged a career-low 94.3 mph on his four-seam fastball in 2018. Not coincidentally, opposing hitters had a .441 slugging percentage and .221 isolated power against Allen's fastball.

The effect of the velocity drop is particularly acute for Allen, who basically throws two pitches: the four-seam fastball and a curveball. If Allen's fastball is no longer the weapon it once was, then he could be in trouble going forward.

Given all of the concerning metrics surrounding Allen's 2018 performance, a return to the Indians never looked likely.

Bryan Shaw appeared in 378 games over five seasons for Cleveland before hitting free agency last offseason. Despite the fact that he was one of the most dependable late-inning options for the Indians, the team opted against bringing him back.

At the time, the decision looked risky, but Cleveland has been vindicated. Shaw sported a 4.92 FIP in his first year with the Colorado Rockies. All of the mileage he put on his right arm with the Indians may be catching up with him.

Cleveland appears to be taking the same approach with Allen.

The Angels, on the other hand, are counting on a return to form from the seven-year veteran. In order for that to happen, Allen may need to change his approach on the mound, something he can discuss in spring training with Brad Ausmus and pitching coach Doug White.

Allen will almost certainly open the 2019 season as Los Angeles' closer. Nine different pitchers recorded a save for the team, and last year's team leader in saves, Blake Parker, signed a one-year, $1.8 million deal with the Minnesota Twins.

For all of his faults, Allen addresses a clear need for the Angels, and Los Angeles needs to do everything it can to capitalize on the two years in which Mike Trout is still under contract.

            

Stats are courtesy of FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

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