Report: Angels Among Frontrunners For Star International Free Agent

After losing Shohei Ohtani in free agency, the Angels are making a push one of the top international pitchers.
Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan starting pitcher Shota Imanaga (21) pitches against the USA
Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan starting pitcher Shota Imanaga (21) pitches against the USA / Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason hasn’t been too kind to the Los Angeles Angels as they saw superstar Shohei Ohtani cross the freeway and sign a massive 10-year, $700 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Without Ohtani, the only thing to be excited about for the Angels is star outfielder Mike Trout, who missed considerable time this past season due to injuries. However, the Angels could be cooking up a major free-agency signing, which would upgrade their starting rotation.

Angels Rumors: Los Angeles Linked To Imanaga

According to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, the Angels, Cubs, Red Sox, and Giants are finalists for the services of Shota Imanaga. The Japanese southpaw had an excellent eight-year career in Nippon Professional Baseball with a 2.96 ERA and a 2.50 ERA over the past three seasons.

Mark Feinsand of reported earlier this week that Imanaga is expected to receive a deal closer to the five-year, $75 million contract that Kodai Senga got from the New York Mets last offseason. 

Feinsand adds that some scouts project the 30-year-old pitcher to be a No. 2-3 starter in the majors. Los Angeles needs to make a full-court press for Imanaga, especially with Reid Detmers, Pablo Sandoval, and Griffin Canning being their best remaining starting pitchers.

Detmers and Sandoval have the potential to rack up big strikeout performances but can have that blowout inning. Last season, Detmers had a 4-10 record and a 4.48 ERA in 28 starts. He also recorded 168 strikeouts and allowed 19 home runs in 148.2 innings pitched.

Meanwhile, Sandoval had a 7-13 record and a 4.11 ERA in 28 starts. The 27-year-old starting pitcher produced 128 strikeouts and only allowed 12 home runs in 144.2 innings pitched. 

If the Angels can sign Imanaga, they still have a long way to go to compete in the AL West. However, it would be a nice first step in the right direction as they start life without Ohtani in Anaheim.