According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Los Angeles Angels are waving the white flag after placing five veteran players on waivers, including Matt Moore and Reynaldo López. Could either of these relievers help out the SF Giants?
Should the SF Giants take a flyer on a pair of Angels relievers?
Passan adds that starting pitcher Lucas Giolito as well as veteran outfielders Randal Gruchuk and Hunter Renfroe have also been placed on waivers. Teams can no longer trade players who have spent time on the 40-man roster, so the Angels would only receive salary relief in return. Realistically, all five players could help out the Giants.
Upgrading the bullpen is not an obvious need as that unit has posted a 4.13 ERA, which ranks as the 11th-best mark in baseball. That is solid, but there is room for improvement, which both Moore or López could offer.
Moore has really had a late-career renaissance since transitioning to the bullpen. The lefty pitcher posted a 1.95 ERA in 63 outings for the Texas Rangers last year. The Angels rewarded him with a one-year, $7.55 million deal in the winter.
The 34-year-old has continued to thrive as a reliever, recording a 2.30 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 0.97 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, and a 3.92 SO/W ratio in 40 appearances for the Angels. Of course, it is hard to ignore that Moore's tenure with the Giants ended roughly as he struggled to the tune of a 5.52 ERA in 32 appearances in 2017 before being shipped to the Rangers in a salary dump trade in the following winter.
There were some bright moments, but far more low points in his time with the Giants. Several years have passed and it is not even the same personnel in charge of the Giants' front office.
The Giants could use an extra left-handed pitcher. Taylor Rogers and Scott Alexander are the top leverage relievers in the bullpen, but the latter has struggled lately. Kyle Harrison appears to have solidified his role in the rotation. Though, the Giants could use extra depth from the left side in case Alexander continues to struggle.
On the other hand, Reynaldo López's overall stat line may seem more like a marginal improvement to the Giants' bullpen. The eight-year veteran has a 3.86 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 1.34 WHIP, 11.9 K/9, and a 2.54 SO/W ratio in 55 appearances split between the Angels and the Chicago White Sox.
The ERA and FIP suggest that he is performing just about as expected, but some team is going to take a chance on the high strikeout totals. Aside from Camilo Doval, Taylor Rogers, and Ryan Walker, the Giants' bullpen relies more on contact to generate outs.
That is not a bad strategy, but even bad contact leads to some BABIP luck. Strikeouts do not, so López would be a fit in that sense. The right-handed pitcher is owed the remainder of a one-year, $3.63 million he signed last winter.
Both Moore and López will almost certainly be claimed as neither has a high financial cost. The Giants have committed about $220 million against the cap this season, so they have about $13 million remaining below the Competitive Balance Tax. They can certainly absorb one or both of their contracts.
Though, more importantly, the Giants are 16th in terms of waiver priority currently. For someone like Moore or López to reach them, some of the remaining competitive teams like the Miami Marlins and the Cincinnati Reds would need to pass. That could happen, but a team like the Marlins could certainly use some extra bullpen help. With so many players on waivers, the Giants will have a decision to make as to whether any of them could help the roster down the stretch.