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Angels sign reliever Alex Claudio to 1-year deal

A lefty joins the bullpen

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The Angels signed free agent left-handed pitcher Alex Claudio to a one year, $1.125 million contract, the club announced on Wednesday, looking to shore up one of the major weaknesses in the bullpen.

Claudio had a 4.26 ERA and 4.09 FIP in 20 games with the Brewers in 2020, with 15 strikeouts and six walks in 19 innings. He was non-tendered by Milwaukee on December 2, making him a free agent.

Claudio is the second reliever acquired by new Angels general manager Perry Minasian, along with closer Raisel Iglesias, who was traded by the Reds on Dec. 7.

Left-handed batters hit .212/.257/.364 with a 25.7-percent strikeout rate against Claudio in 2020, and in his career he’s held lefties to .202/.246/.310 with a 20.5-percent K rate (compared to 14.2 percent against righties).

Lefty batters hit .262/.343/.505 against Angels left-handed pitchers in 2020, and the only pitcher with an OPS allowed under .833 was starter Andrew Heaney.

Claudio was also effective against right-handed batters, who hit .268/.348/.390 in 2020, and his 81.7-mph average exit velocity against all batters was the best in baseball.

He has a career 60.6-percent ground ball rate, though in 2020 his ground ball rate was 46.6 percent, the lowest of his career.

Claudio, who turns 29 in January, has a 3.44 ERA (135 ERA+) and 3.70 FIP in seven major league seasons with the Rangers and Brewers.