The Angels crossed off one of the most pressing matters on their offseason to-do list on Tuesday night, as they reportedly re-signed closer Raisel Iglesias to a four-year contract worth $58 million that will keep him in Anaheim through the 2025 season.
Free-agent reliever Raisel Iglesias closing in on four-year contract with Angels, sources tell @TheAthletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 1, 2021
Iglesias was acquired by the Halos last December in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, and after a less than stellar month of April, he turned it on to become one of the best relievers in all of baseball in 2021. The 31-year-old Cuban native pitched in 65 games last season, recording 34 saves in 39 opportunities while posting a 2.57 ERA and 0.93 WHIP with an incredible 33.3 percent strikeout-to-walk ratio (103 Ks to just 12 free passes) in 70 innings. This incredible performance got him named to the All-MLB Second Team as a reliever earlier this month, making him one of four bullpen pitchers to earn All-MLB honors alongside Josh Hader, Liam Hendriks and Kenley Jansen.
Iglesias was extended the one-year, $18 million qualifying offer by the Angels back at the beginning of this month, which he subsequently declined in hopes of securing a more long-term contract. General manager Perry Minasian continuously reiterated the team’s desire to bring him back into the fold despite this, however, and considering their lack of options to replace him with as well as Iglesias’ own admission that he enjoyed playing in Anaheim last season, it became clear that re-signing him was one of their main priorities this offseason.
Re-signing Iglesias is the second move that the Angels have made in an effort to reinforce a bullpen that struggled for the most part in 2021, the first being the two-year deal they handed to lefty Aaron Loup last week. Iglesias and Loup were two of the best relievers on the free-agent market this winter, and by bringing in both of them, the Halos could potentially trot out one of the better late-game duos in all of baseball for 2022 and beyond. Those two are joined by Mike Mayers, Austin Warren and José Quijada as the likely locks for next year’s bullpen, with Jimmy Herget, Andrew Wantz, Oliver Ortega and José Marte being among the potential options to round the rest of that unit out. They could also look to bring in one more arm on the free-agent market, as potential back-end guys such as Ryan Tepera, Corey Knebel and Joe Kelly still remain unsigned as of now.
Free agent relievers, by Stuff+, which focuses only on movement, velo & spin:— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) November 22, 2021
1) Aaron Loup (Angels just signed) (121)
2) Raisel Iglesias
3) Jimmy Nelson
4) Collin McHugh
5) Daniel Hudson
6) Serigo Romo
7) Heath Hembree
8) Kendall Graveman
9) Adam Ottavino
10) Corey Knebel (110)
This move leaves the Angels around $6 million shy of the $182 million payroll figure that they ended last season at. They’ll likely need to go over that mark if they want to fill the remaining spot left in their starting rotation with an external option, but that may have to wait a while, as MLB’s long-foreshadowed lockout and subsequent roster freeze looms less than 24 hours away. For now, though, the best closer the Halos have had since Francisco Rodriguez appears to be staying in Anaheim for the long run, which is a cause for celebration in and of itself.
Raisel Mania— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) October 15, 2021
Watch all 34 of Raisel Iglesias' saves from the 2021 season.