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Why the Angels are Sticking with 1-Year Contracts this Offseason

Why the Angels are sticking with One-Year Contracts this Offseason

Who did the Angels sign to a one-year deal:

  • Cody Allen: One-year deal worth $8.5 million.
  • Matt Harvey: One-year deal worth $11 million.
  • Jonathan Lucroy: One-year deal worth $3.35 million.
  • Trevor Cahill: One-year worth deal $9 million.
  • Justin Bour: One-year worth deal $2.5 million.
  • Tommy La Stella: (Via trade with Cubs) One-year deal worth $1.35 million.

How can all the one-year contracts benefit them?

General Manager Billy Eppler has brought in a substantial amount of players this offseason. With a total of six new players now part of the Angels organization, it gives them payroll flexibility in the near future. None of them are locked into a contract down the road, which gives the Angels front office some money to play with in the coming years. The Angels have also done a much improved job in keeping their top prospects and not dealing them out in trades. They have gone about their business via free agency for most acquisitions this offseason.

Bounce Back Candidates:

With these one-year deals, Eppler is banking on some bounce back candidates. Giving Harvey $11 million might be a stretch based on his value, but he did improve in the second half last season. When Harvey’s at his best, he’s an elite pitcher but it’s been a while since we’ve seen the “Dark Knight”. Harvey has a career 41-44 record and a 3.80 ERA.

Cody Allen is another bounce-back candidate, who has the potential to be a really good player if he gets back to his regular form. Allen’s ceiling is being a top 10 closer in baseball but last season, he struggled in the second half. Allen has 149 career saves and a 2.98 ERA over his seven seasons in the big leagues.

Which contracts have turned for the worse?

At one point in time the Angles were one of the most aggressive teams out on the free agent market. The Angels gave Jared Weaver a new contract extension in 2011 worth $85 million over five years. The following season, in 2012, the Angels signed Albert Pujols to a staggering ten-year contract worth $240 million. During the same offseason they signed C.J Wilson to a five-year $77.5 million dollar contract. Then, the Angels picked up one of the top free agents once again in 2013 by adding Josh Hamilton to the roster. Hamilton signed for five-years worth $125 million.

At that point in time, the Angels were all in after landing top free agents year-after-year. Although they were one of the most talented teams, it didn’t quite translate into wins. These contracts really exploded in the face of the Angels’ front office and they were stuck with all these long-term contracts. Since then, the Angels have been very cautious when signing a player to a long-term deal because of their past history.

How does this impact Mike Trout’s future?

Why the Angels are sticking with One-Year Contracts this Offseason
(Image courtesy of MLB.com))

The 27-year-old Mike Trout currently has two years remaining on his current deal with the Angels. Trout has been one of the best players in baseball for numerous seasons now. The demand for teams to acquire him when he becomes a free-agent will be astronomical.

The Angels need to be proactive about the situation if they want to keep Trout in Anaheim. If the Angels’ front office doesn’t offer him a new deal before he hits free agency, the odds of him staying with the club fall drastically. With all these one-year deals that Eppler just signed the new players too, it gives them financial flexibility by not being locked into a player long-term.

Even after the Angels have been burned by long-term deals in the past, Trout would definitely be the exception. The Angels have already been vocal about keeping Trout in an Angels uniform. They just have to be aware of, how Trout’s market is starting to shape itself. The Angels are going to need a large chunk of money in order to retain Trout, as he’s going to be most sought after player if he hits free agency.

 

(Top Photo: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

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