Iglesias declines qualifying offer from Angels

Halos will get compensatory Draft pick if they lose closer in free agency

November 18th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- Closer rejected the one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer from the Angels ahead of Wednesday’s 2 p.m. PT deadline.

It’s not a surprise, as Iglesias is coming off a career year and is one of the top relievers on the free-agent market. The 31-year-old tied a career high with 34 saves and posted a 2.57 ERA with 103 strikeouts and 12 walks in 70 innings.

"Not a surprise," Angels general manager Perry Minasian said. "Raisel has earned the right to explore the free-agent market. Not surprised one bit. Nothing's changed. We're still in contact with his representation. He's somebody we would obviously love to have back and I think he really enjoyed his time here. We enjoyed having him, and I'm optimistic we can work something out."

The Angels, though, can still sign Iglesias to a new deal, as it seems clear he wants a multiyear contract after declining the one-year qualifying offer. If he signs with another club, the Angels would receive a pick after Competitive Balance Round B. At $18.4 million, he would’ve earned the most for a reliever in a single season, surpassing the $18 million that Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman made in 2021.

Iglesias, who has racked up 134 saves with a 2.86 ERA and 395 strikeouts in 308 innings over the past five seasons, is likely to look for a deal similar to the one that closer Liam Hendriks signed with the White Sox last offseason, when he inked a three-year deal worth $54 million. Veteran closer Craig Kimbrel, who is another comparable, signed a three-year deal worth $43 million with the Cubs in 2019 that included a $16 million club option for '22.

The Angels, who signed right-hander Noah Syndergaard to a one-year deal worth $21 million on Tuesday, need a closer this offseason, as they don’t have any internal options. Other closers available via free agency include Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon, but the list drops off dramatically after that. Another option could be trading for Kimbrel, whom the White Sox are reportedly making available this offseason.

The top priority, however, is bringing back Iglesias as closer, as the Angels liked what he brought to the team, both on the field and in the clubhouse. Iglesias indicated during the season that he had interest in remaining with the Angels, but now he’ll have options in free agency.