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The Angels have signed left-hander Alex Claudio to a one-year deal worth $1.125MM, the club announced.  Claudio hit the open market after he was non-tendered by the Brewers earlier this month.

Between this signing and the Angels’ acquisition of Raisel Iglesias, the bullpen has been an early focus for newly-hired general manager Perry Minasian.  Left-handed relief was a particular need for the team, and that need that now been addressed with Claudio, who has held left-handed batters to a minuscule .202/.246/.310 slash line over 487 plate appearances during his career.

Claudio, who turns 29 next month, is a groundball specialist who doesn’t miss a lot of bats, as evidenced by his career 60.6% grounder rate and 6.27 K/9.  Something of a lefty specialist over his career, Claudio adjusted reasonably well to the three-batter rule last season, as he limited righty batters to a .268/.348/.390 slash line.  The increased exposure to right-handed hitters could explain why Claudio’s grounder rate dropped to only 46.6% over 19 innings last season, though that could also just be an anomaly of the 2020 season’s small sample size.

Lacking the big velocity or strikeout totals of most relievers, Claudio was non-tendered by Milwaukee in each of the last two offseasons (he was projected to earn between $2MM-$2.3MM in arbitration this winter), despite some pretty solid numbers throughout his career.  Over 311 2/3 innings for the Rangers and Brewers since the start of the 2014 season, Claudio has a 3.44 ERA, and he has also been one of the sport’s most durable relievers in recent years.  Claudio amassed 213 innings over 219 appearances in 2017-19, including a league-high 83 games pitched in 2019.

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