The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim now know who their closer will be in the 2019 season after signing former Cleveland Indians’ closer Cody Allen to a one-year, $8.5 Million deal on Sunday. The deal also presents the opportunity of earning an additional $2 Million in incentives, making the deal worth up to $10.5 Million. After five years of closing for the Cleveland Indians, Allen will now fill a massive void in the back end of the Angels’ bullpen. The Angels designated right-handed pitcher Miguel Almonte for assignment following the confirmation of the deal.
Cody Allen is coming off of the worst statistical season of his Major League career after posting a meager 4.70 ERA with 27 saves in 67 innings after having four consecutive sub-3.00 ERA seasons. Allen’s stat spreadsheet for 2018 displayed numerous career-worsts and he will be hoping for a bounce-back season in Anaheim after losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.
In his career, Allen has averaged 70 games, 29 saves, and a 3.03 ERA. Allen has led the league in saves since 2014 with 147. Allen became Cleveland’s all-time saves leader last year with 149 saves while also setting career club records in relief appearances with 456 and relief strikeouts with 564. Allen also had a career-high of five blown saves in 2018.
The Angels vastly underperformed in 2018 as a result of a slew of injuries and pitching woes after getting off to an incredible start to the season and found themselves at fourth in the division by the time the fat lady finally shut her mouth (sorry, bitter Angels fan over here). The Angels have set out to put a winner together for Mike Trout who will almost surely test the waters of free agency if the Angels can’t get him to the Postseason.
The Angels have been criticized heavily for not “doing enough” in the offseason and especially from a pitching front, but they are clearly trying after being in the mix for Patrick Corbin, Nathan Eovaldi, Zach Britton, and Andrew Miller among others before being outbid by other clubs. The Angels were desperate for some bullpen stability and with Allen’s incentives being for games finished, the closer job is now his to lose.
Keynan Middleton, the Angels closer in 2018, suffered Tommy John Surgery at the beginning of the 2018 season and likely will not be back until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker occupied the closer role a large majority of the 2018 season but was designated for assignment was non-tendered in November before signing with the Minnesota Twins. The Angels should have a solid and hard-throwing bullpen in 2018 that includes the likes of Justin Anderson, Ty Buttrey, Hansel Robles, Noe Ramirez, Cam Bedrosian, and Luis Garcia, whom they acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies over the winter.
The Angels needed a closer this offseason and Cody Allen will hope for a bounce-back year with the club in 2019. After the worst year of his career, Allen will hope to get back to form in order to be the top relief pitcher in a relatively weak free agent reliever class in the 2019-2020 offseason.