These Angels pitchers could be non-tendered

November 28th, 2018

Another offseason deadline looms for the Angels, as they must decide whether to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players by Friday at 5 p.m. PT.

Players who are tendered contracts will have several weeks to negotiate new deals with the Angels before salary figures are exchanged in January, while those that are non-tendered will become free agents.

Nine Angels are eligible for arbitration this winter, and most of the decisions should be fairly straightforward. Left-handers , and , and right-handers , , Nick Tropeano and are likely to be tendered contracts. But two others -- right-handers JC Ramirez and -- stand out as potential non-tender candidates.

Ramirez, 30, made only two starts for the Angels in 2018 before being forced to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery in April. He has begun a throwing program, but he isn't expected to be available to pitch for the Angels until late May at the earliest. Ramirez, who made $1.9 million in arbitration last season, posted a 4.15 ERA over a career-high 147 1/3 innings in 2017 after making the transition from the bullpen to the rotation, but his durability is now a bit of a question mark, creating some uncertainty about his future as a starter.

Shoemaker will be another tough decision for the Angels, as he is entering his third year of arbitration and could command a fairly high salary. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008, Shoemaker enjoyed an impressive probable rise to the Majors and debuted with the Angels in '13. He became a staple in the club's rotation over the next three seasons before being hampered by a series of injuries.

Shoemaker, 32, was limited to only 21 starts over the last two years due to a confounding right forearm injury that he believes was initially misdiagnosed and led to two surgeries. During a nerve decompression procedure in May 2018, doctors discovered a split pronator teres tendon in Shoemaker's right forearm and repaired it, finally bringing an end to the persistent discomfort in the arm.

After spending most of the 2018 season on the disabled list, Shoemaker returned to make six starts for the Angels in September. While he showed he's healthy, Shoemaker's results on the mound were mixed, yielding a 4.94 ERA over 31 innings.

General manager Billy Eppler has identified starting pitching as one of the Angels' greatest needs this offseason, but Shoemaker's recent inconsistency has muddied his standing on the club's rotation depth chart. Given his injury history and varying effectiveness, the Angels must decide if Shoemaker is worth the investment, or if they're better off allocating those resources elsewhere.