Los Angeles Angels: Three free agent pitching targets

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Manager Joe Maddon #70 of the Los Angeles Angels hands the ball to pitcher Cam Bedrosian #32 in the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 20, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Manager Joe Maddon #70 of the Los Angeles Angels hands the ball to pitcher Cam Bedrosian #32 in the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 20, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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Kevin Gausman
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 24: Kevin Gausman #34 of the San Francisco Giants pitches in the top of the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on September 24, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Kevin Gausman is a solid option to anchor the backend of the Los Angeles Angels rotation.

The odds of LA landing both Bauer and Stroman are slim and they will need to sign at least two prominent arms if they want to have a chance at finding playoff success.

The trade market could be a viable route to acquire another arm, with names like Joe Musgrove and Lance Lynn likely available, and more risky names like Yusei Kikuchi and Alex Cobb, but the Angels don’t need to waste their time with bounce-back candidates.

One more name who should be a target of the Angels is Kevin Gausman. Pairing Gausman with Dylan Bundy to form the back-end of a playoff rotation would send the city of Baltimore into a frenzy, but help solidify a dominant rotation for the Angels.

Gausman signed a one-year deal with San Francisco last season and re-established himself as a reliable starter after troubles with Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Atlanta.

The 29-year-old righty went 3-3 with a 3.62 ERA (3.09 FIP), a career-high 32.5% strikeout rate, a 1.11 WHIP, and was worth 1.5 fWAR through 12 outings in 2020. His average four-seam velocity jumped from 93.9. mph to 95.1 mph and his split-finger produced a near 46% whiff rate and held opponents to a .106 average, throwing the pitch 42% of the time.

Despite his dominant year, it’s unlikely he receives a Qualifying Offer from San Francisco, leaving Gausman free to land a deserving contract elsewhere.

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Regardless of who assumes the GM role for the Los Angeles Angels, it’s time to listen to their star player and do whatever it takes to reach the World Series. Going after at least two of these arms won’t solve every roster issue, but they will take one of the league’s worst starting rotations into one of the more formidable groups in the big leagues.