Reliever Loup joins Angels on 2-year deal

November 23rd, 2021

ANAHEIM -- The Angels made their first major addition to the bullpen this offseason on Monday, signing veteran left-hander to a two-year deal worth $17 million. Loup will earn $7.5 million in both 2022 and '23, with a club option for '24 worth $7.5 million or a $2 million buyout.

Loup, who will turn 34 on Dec. 19, is coming off a career year with the Mets. He had 57 strikeouts in 56 2/3 innings, and his 0.95 ERA was the best by any pitcher with at least 50 innings in 2021. He held opponents to a .192 batting average, which ranked third among all National League southpaws. Left-handed hitters managed just two extra-base hits against him.

“What we liked about him was a multitude of things, including his production the last few years and over the course of his career,” Angels general manager Perry Minasian said. “The ability to get both sides of plate and not just left-on-left. He can pitch against the better parts of lineups. And then just the guy. He’s a beautiful human being.”

Loup is the second addition to the Angels’ pitching staff this offseason. The club also signed right-hander to a one-year deal worth $21 million. Loup and Syndergaard were teammates on the Mets last season, although Syndergaard was coming off Tommy John surgery and was limited to two innings.

Minasian said Loup liked the idea of playing with Syndergaard.

“He had three-year deals he passed up because he wanted to be with the Angels,” Minasian said, “and I think his relationship with Noah was a big help.

“I had a great conversation with him. We talked for a long time, probably longer than he expected to talk just about what we're trying to do here. And he's a family man who loves his wife and kids and wanted to know about Southern California, in general. I think Disneyland was a great sell."

Loup has a career 3.05 ERA with 383 strikeouts in 407 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays, Phillies, Padres, Rays and Mets. Lefties have a .224/.291/.306 slash line against him in his career, while right-handers have slashed .258/.327/.403.

Loup mostly relies on his sinker and cutter but also possesses a changeup and a curveball. He limits hard contact and gave up just one home run last year. He never has allowed more than six homers in a season.

“It’s a combination of things, but I think his angle is a bit different and you don’t see it too often,” Minasian said. “When you combine velocity, angle and movement -- and the biggest thing is he locates the ball. He has a good idea of where it’s going.”

Left-hander Hector Yan was designated for assignment to make room for Loup on the 40-man roster. Yan, 22, is a former top prospect but struggled in 2021, posting a 5.25 ERA in 82 1/3 innings at High-A Tri-City with a velocity decrease.

“He just made the most sense,” Minasian said. “The better you become and the deeper you become, the tougher the roster decisions you have. So I look forward to having more difficult roster decisions.”

Minasian added that he’s not done adding pitching. Re-signing closer Raisel Iglesias remains a top priority even after the signing of Loup. The GM wouldn’t say exactly where the payroll will end up. The Angels are roughly $20 million under the 2021 payroll.

"We have an ownership group that wants to compete and wants to win, so I would not rule anything out," Minasian said. “We're by no means finished. We feel like we need to add more, and we'll attempt to do that.”