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AL West Notes: Angels, Thor, Seager, Semien, Rangers, Olson

The Angels signed Noah Syndergaard earlier this week, a move that came about due to a very ardent pursuit by the front office.  Speaking with The Los Angeles Times’ Jack Harris, The Associated Press, and other reporters, Syndergaard said the Angels were the very first team to get in touch with him after the free agent period opened, and his own interest in Anaheim grew after a three-hour dinner with Angels GM Perry Minasian.  The executive presented detailed plans on several topics, including how the team would manage the right-hander’s innings in 2022, and some mechanical adjustments the Angels were looking to make based on their analysis of Syndergaard’s tape.  “It was a breath of fresh air to hear that, to know his baseball knowledge,” Syndergaard said.  “He was able to break down some of the flaws I had over the past couple years….I trust that what they saw, they’re going to be able to fix, and I’ll get back to my old self.”

Plenty of preparation went into the meeting on Minasian’s end, as he said “As far as man hours, the amount of work we’ve done, I don’t know if I’ve ever done more on an individual player.”  The Angels had to be sure that Syndergaard was fully recovered after missing essentially two full seasons due to Tommy John surgery rehab, and their offer also matched Syndergaard’s desire to re-enter the market next winter with what he hopes will be a full and healthy season under his belt.  Syndergaard said that while he initially expected to remain with the Mets, “I didn’t really hear from them all that much in the last two months from the end of the season until now.”  This lack of communication may have been the result of the Mets’ long search for a new front office boss, and Syndergaard indicated that the ever-ongoing drama surrounding the team influenced his decision to sign elsewhere.  “This is an important year for me.  This is kind of a make-or-break time for me.  I didn’t want to gamble on that kind of uncertainty that’s been going on with them,” the righty said.

More from around the AL West…

  • Members of the Rangers front office recently met with Corey Seager and Marcus Semien in California, The Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant reports.  Texas was already known to have interest in both free agent shortstops, so the in-person meetings represent the next logical step in the pursuit, especially since the Rangers have also met face-to-face with another available shortstop in Trevor Story.  After five consecutive losing seasons, the Rangers are looking eager to return to contention, and are known to be willing to spend at the highest ends of the free agent market.  Since Seager, Semien, and Story all rejected qualifying offers, Texas would have to give up $500K in international bonus pool money and their second-highest pick in the 2022 draft as compensation — which is another sign of the Rangers’ aggression, considering that pick would be the third choice of the second round.
  • Unsurprisingly, the Athletics are putting a very high asking price on Matt Olson in any trade talks, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets the A’s are “shooting for the moon” in their demands.  It remains to be seen whether any team will line up on an Olson trade, and yet parting with a big trade package would probably be justifiable, considering Olson’s impressive track record.  Olson is the most prominent of what could be several Oakland trade candidates this winter, as the club looks to be cutting back on payroll.

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