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Potential minor league signing targets

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

While most of MLB has sat around this off season and watched the snow accumulate, the Angels have been spoiling their fans by bringing in a top left fielder, defensive wizzes at second and third bases, and some kid called “The Japanese Babe Ruth.”

With payroll projected to sit right about owner Arte Moreno’s comfort level, the likelihood of much more being added at the MLB level seem remote. But even if GM Billy Eppler is able to pull another stealth move for the big league club, he will be looking to add depth via minor league signings.

Due to the long grind of an MLB season, it is imperative teams have quality, MLB ready talent in the minor leagues. Look no further than last year’s bullpen savior Yusmeiro Petit as a minor league deal that paid dividends.

With that in mind, let’s make a list of potential minor league signings that could make sense for the 2018 Angels.

Jaime Garcia: he might get an MLB deal, but he could be available as a value buy on a minor league pact. He’s about to turn 32 and just finished a whirlwind season that saw him post an ERA+ of 99 across 157 innings for three franchises. His peripherals were pretty much in line with his career averages (roughly 7 K/9, 3 BB/9) and he could serve as an emergency starter or long reliever.

Jesse Chavez: The Riverside product loved pitching close to home last year. He turned in a pretty unremarkable 5.35 ERA over 138 innings but has the potential to be a decent long reliever. The Angels will likely need several multi inning relievers this year, and Jesse might be able to make the Salt Lake to Anaheim shuttle work for him.

Brett Anderson: continuing the multi inning reliever types (which Eppler seems to really like), Anderson pitched to an unsightly ERA of 6.34 across 72 innings last year but estimators like FIP pegged him as closer to league average (4.10). He missed most of 2016 with injury but was an above average arm before that, carrying a career ERA+ of 109 to that point. If he’s back to full health, the 29 year old could still have life in his arm and contribute to a big league club next season.

Trevor Plouffe: a man once debated as a possible target for the Angels full time third base opening has seen his performance drop off as his age has progressed. But he’s only a season removed from a semi respectable wRC+ of 91 over 344 PAs. Between Cozart’s injury history and a lack of third basemen in the Angels system, he might be a decent emergency option.

Colby Rasmus: was having a pretty decent 2017 until a hip injury put him out for good in July. He’s a left handed bat and at age 31 could be a bit of a bounce back candidate if he’s healthy. On a minor league deal, even with an opt out, there would be no risk.

Relievers: lots of them. This is a horrible cop out, but with reliever performance so volatile it is a numbers game. The more guys Eppler can bring in, the better odds one or two work out. He was magic last year, but I wouldn’t expect that success rate to be sustainable.

Who is on your radar? I’m sure I’m missing plenty of names. Let’s get the conversation started in the comments below.