Angels nab closer Raisel Iglesias from Reds

Right-hander Noé Ramirez, PTBNL dealt to Cincinnati

December 7th, 2020

ANAHEIM -- The Angels filled a major need on Monday, acquiring right-hander and cash from the Reds for right-hander and a player to be named.

Angels get: RHP Raisel Iglesias
Reds get: RHP Noé Ramirez, player to be named

The Angels led the Majors with 14 blown saves in 2020 and non-tendered five relievers last Wednesday, including former closer Hansel Robles. Iglesias, 30, can step right in as closer, as he has a career 3.15 ERA and 106 saves in six seasons with the Reds.

“He has an outstanding track record,” Angels general manager Perry Minasian said. “Bullpen is an area we'd like to improve, and we feel like he's a positive addition in that area. He has a history of pitching late in games, history of pitching in big games, he’s obviously been in the postseason before and it's a live arm. He's been very durable throughout his career. He's a hard worker. He's got an outstanding routine. Not only did he fit from a talent standpoint, but from a makeup standpoint."

The right-hander posted a 2.74 ERA with eight saves in 22 appearances (10 save chances) in 2020 after recording a career-high 34 saves and a 4.16 ERA in '19. Iglesias is set to be a free agent after next season. He’s due to make $9.125 million in 2021, which is why Cincinnati is sending money in the deal.

Ramirez, 30, was a solid reliever for the Angels for four seasons, posting a 4.04 ERA, including a 3.00 mark in 21 innings in 2020. But the club was in need of a reliever with closing experience and Iglesias fits the bill. Iglesias is one of only five closers with at least 100 saves over the past five years, joining Edwin Díaz, Kenley Jansen, Brad Hand and Alex Colomé. Iglesias also has the fewest blown saves of anyone in that group over that timeframe.

Minasian said he began talks with Reds general manager Nick Krall a few weeks ago about Iglesias, and that they began to heat up on Sunday. The two clubs were a match because the Reds were looking to shed payroll and the Angels are willing to spend to build a winner around stars such as Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Shohei Ohtani. It could be a strategy for the Angels to acquire higher-priced players via trade this offseason as a result, but Minasian said it’s hard to know if that’ll be the case.

"Will be other opportunities like this? It's hard to say," Minasian said. “But we will be active. We will have a lot of conversations regarding a lot of different players. And I've said this before, and I'll say it again -- we want to play meaningful games at the end of the season. We want to be in the mix in September and in order to do that, we need to improve this roster."

The Angels have struggled to find a consistent closer in recent years, as the last reliever to reach 25 saves for the club was Huston Street in 2015, when he saved 40 games. Owner Arte Moreno indicated early in the offseason that finding a closer and relief help would be a major priority this offseason.

It’s the second significant move under Minasian, who acquired shortstop José Iglesias from the Orioles on Wednesday. Coincidentally, Raisel and José Iglesias were born a day apart in Cuba in 1990 but are not related.

Improving the bullpen remains a priority, but adding starting pitching is still the club’s greatest need this offseason. Minaisan said he’ll stay active on that front and isn’t afraid to get creative like he did with the two trades to acquire shortstop and bullpen help.

"We're open to anything,” Minasian said. “We're not really stuck into a certain area. Obviously, the more depth you have on a club, especially in the pitching department, whether it be rotation or bullpen, the better off you are. So we're looking at more about the individual player and what that player brings to the club. Then, particular needs.”