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While the Los Angeles Angels remain hopeful of retaining Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani this offseason, the Halos still appear to have their sights set on one of the best pitchers available in free agency.
The Angels are “very interested” in signing reigning National League Cy Young winner Blake Snell this winter, Mark Feinsand reported Wednesday on MLB Tonight (3 minute mark).
Signing Snell would make a lot of sense for the Angels even if they are able to strike a long-term agreement with Ohtani.
Ohtani, who underwent elbow surgery in September, isn’t expected to return to pitching until 2025. He’ll play strictly as a hitter in 2024, meaning the Angels could use an ace on the mound to lead a rotation that includes Tyler Anderson, Patrick Sandoval and Reid Detmers.
The Halos ended the 2023 season with one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball with a 4.64 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. Additionally, they allowed 738 earned runs, the fourth-most in the American League and 209 home runs, the third-most in the AL.
The only AL teams to put up worse performances on the mound were the Oakland Athletics, Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox.
Snell was lights out for the San Diego Padres last season to earn his second career Cy Young award. He posted a 14-9 record, 2.25 ERA, which led the majors, 1.19 WHIP and 234 strikeouts in 180 innings across 32 starts.
The 30-year-old also led the majors in opponents’ batting average (.180) and OPS against (.579).
Snell, who began his career with the Tampa Bay Rays, also won the AL Cy Young award as a member of the club in 2018. He is the seventh player in MLB history to win the award in both leagues, joining Roger Clemens, Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roy Halladay and Max Scherzer.
While the Angels have expressed interest in Snell, they should face some strong competition for the veteran pitcher. According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers are also interested in signing him this winter, as are the Padres.