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OC Register: Angels sign lefty reliever Aaron Loup to two-year deal


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The Angels began retooling their bullpen by signing left-hander Aaron Loup to a two-year, $17 million deal on Monday.

Loup is the first free agent pitcher to sign a multi-year deal with the Angels since reliever Joe Smith signed a three-year deal in November 2013.

Loup will make $7.5 million in 2022 and 2023. The deal includes a team option for $7.5 million in 2024, with a $2 million buyout.

Loup, 33, is coming off the best season of his career. He posted an 0.95 ERA in 56-2/3 innings in 65 games.

Loup averaged less than an inning per game, with the Mets trying to use him against left-handed hitters as much the three-batter rule allowed. Lefties hit .167 with a .440 OPS against Loup in 2022, compared with .211 and .547 by righties. Loup has held lefties to a .597 OPS for his career. Righties have a .730 OPS.

The Angels will be Loup’s sixth team. He began his career spending parts of six seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, including the years when current Angels GM Perry Minasian worked in the Toronto front office.

Loup was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2018, and he pitched the past three seasons for the San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays and Mets.

Including $21 million for Noah Syndergaard, the Angels have now committed $28.5 million to two new pitchers for 2022. Their budget for next season is unknown, but they are about $20 million shy of equaling their 2021 payroll.

It is likely the Angels still need to add at least one more starter and multiple relievers.

The Angels designated right-hander Hector Yan for assignment to create a spot for Loup on the 40-man roster. Yan’s status as an Angels prospect was climbing heading into 2021, but his velocity was mysteriously down in spring training. He had a 5.25 ERA at Class-A Tri-Cities last season.

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Love the signing, don't think he's the closer.

Side note, Yan fell off prospect lists pretty quickly in 2021. This is why I am conservative with prospects now after so many years of being burned. I thought Kotchman was going to be Joyner 2.0 or better. Wood was going to be elite. 

Guys are far more projectable after success in AA or AAA.

For example, Walsh was never a highly rated prospect, but in 2017 he hit to a .926 OPS in High A. Then struggled a bit in his promotion to AA that year (.680 OPS in 20 games). The following year they started him at High A again, he again destroyed that level at a .969 OPS in 40 games. Then in AA he hit to nearly the same level (.918 OPS), and continued that in AAA, though with some decline (.811 OPS). In 2019, he destroyed AAA to a 1.109 OPS.

Players at the lower levels, like Vera / Jackson / Paris, etc. need to hit much better than they have in the minors to be considered for future every day playing.  Vera hit well in rookie ball, but then struggled in Low A in limited action. This next year, he'll start again at Low A and hope he does better with the bat.

He is only 19, so he has time. But to think he will be the regular SS in 2024, is not facing facts. He'll hopefully split 2022 between Low A and High A, then move to AA in 2023, and AAA in 2024. But if this takes another year, that's ok, as he could debut then in 2026.

Jackson hit better at Low A, so he will might start in High A, but even then, that could be three years before we see him. Paris struggled a bit at his promotion to High A in a limited amount of games, so I would expect him to be there again, and hopefully he can hit much better there which would push him to AA and then he finally may be projectable.



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