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ICYMI: More minor roster moves, Cobb’s potential departure, Matz rumors, and more

The Angels have continued to stay busy as the offseason marches on

MLB: New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 offseason is coming up on one month old here shortly, and in that time period, the Angels have been one of the busier teams across the whole league.

The Noah Syndergaard deal got things started for the Halos with a bang last week, and since that signing was announced, we’ve seen a whole lot of tidbits and rumors coming out of Anaheim recently. It can be hard keeping up with everything on a daily basis, so we’ve got you covered with today’s edition of the news and notes surrounding the Angels:

Roster Moves

  • The Aaron Loup signing was the biggest news that came out of Anaheim on Monday, but the Angels made a different transaction earlier in the day, acquiring utility man Tyler Wade from the Yankees for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Wade, a native of Murrieta, was designated for assignment by the Yankees last Friday in order to clear room on their 40-man roster. He was mainly used as a pinch runner and defensive replacement for New York thanks to his versatility—he’s played everywhere but pitcher, catcher and first base in his career—and 94th percentile sprint speed, but he did manage to set career-highs in batting average (.268) and on base percentage (.354) in the 154 plate appearances that he did get this year. He figures to compete for a bench role with the Halos in 2022 (or possibly for the starting shortstop role if the club doesn’t make any external acquisitions in that spot) alongside guys like former Yankees teammate Andrew Velazquez, Luis Rengifo, Jack Mayfield, Phil Gosselin, José Rojas and Brendon Davis.

  • Of course, the acquisitions of Loup and Wade meant that the Angels would have to clear two 40-man roster spots of their own, and the two unfortunate names on the chopping block were utility man Kean Wong and pitcher Hector Yan. Wong appeared in 32 games for the big league club in 2021, hitting .167 with three extra-base hits while playing four different positions in the field. Yan was the Halos’ No. 19 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, but he posted an ERA above 5.00 with High-A Tri-City in 2021 and appeared to have suffered a drop in his average velocity when compared to past seasons.

Free Agent Rumors

  • The biggest rumor coming out of Angels camp this week was unfortunately not a positive one, as it appears that Alex Cobb may soon be heading north to San Francisco.

The Halos acquired Cobb in a trade from the Orioles at the end of last offseason, and you could make a pretty solid case for him being the team’s most reliable starter not named Shohei Ohtani in 2021. The 33-year-old posted a 3.76 ERA and a 2.92 FIP with 98 strikeouts in what proved to be a bounce back year for him, although a pair of IL stints and some recurring blister issues limited him to just 93.1 innings across 18 starts.

As for the decision to reportedly let Cobb walk, it’s possible that the Angels wanted more certain innings out of their middle-of-the-rotation arms considering the injury histories of Ohtani, Syndergaard and Patrick Sandoval. He definitely appeared to be a prime extension candidate after talking multiple times about how much he enjoyed playing for the organization, but if the reports surrounding his free agency are true, he’ll instead be joining a Giants rotation featuring recent re-signees Alex Wood and Anthony DeSclafani.

  • The other main free agency rumor surrounds a potential replacement for Cobb in the rotation, as the Angels are reportedly one of the teams that are in on former Blue Jays starter Steven Matz, who will likely make his decision on where to sign by Wednesday.

Matz was acquired by the Blue Jays from the Mets last offseason, and he posted a 3.82 ERA and 3.79 FIP in 150.2 innings for them in 2021. He reportedly has offers from eight different teams on the table currently, and given the fact that they met with his representatives at the GM Meetings a few weeks ago, it would be safe to assume that the Angels are one of those clubs. It makes sense why the Halos are interested in the 30-year-old lefty, as his solid production from last season along with his relative durability in recent years would make him a pretty solid fit in the middle to back end of their rotation behind the aforementioned Ohtani and Syndergaard. The competition for his services appears to be stiff, though, so getting a commitment from him this week may prove to be a bit difficult all things considered.

Other News and Notes

  • The BBWAA released its official Hall of Fame ballot for 2022 on Monday, and it features a handful of former Angels on it

Starting on the newcomer side of things, two guys with brief cameos in an Angels uniform made the cut in Mark Teixeira and Tim Lincecum. Teixeira came to the Halos in a July 2008 trade with the Braves and immediately became one of the best trade deadline acquisitions in recent memory, hitting .358/.449/.632 with 13 home runs in 54 games down the stretch and 7-15 in the team’s lone playoff series that year. He unfortunately left in free agency that offseason to join the Yankees in free agency on a monster contract, but the compensation pick that the Angels got in return was used to draft some guy named Mike Trout.

Lincecum joined the Angels in the middle of the 2016 season after his illustrious career with the Giants came to an end the following year, but his career in Anaheim was not pretty, to say the least. Lincecum won his first start with the Angels in mid-June that season but struggled mightily the rest of the way, posting a 9.16 ERA in nine starts before being demoted to AAA Salt Lake in August, never to return to the big leagues with the Halos or any other club.

  • As for the incumbents, Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu are looking to increase their vote totals after narrowly remaining on the ballot last year. Hunter made his debut in the voting process last year and earned 9.5 percent of the vote, and Abreu came in just a few votes behind him at 8.7 percent in his second year on the ballot. The threshold to remain on the ballot is five percent, so unless either lose a significant portion of votes this time around, they’ll both be sticking around for a good while longer.