The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim offered Matt Garza a four-year contract in the same range as the $50 million deal that he accepted with Milwaukee according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. The offer was not available for very long though, per Rosenthal, as Angels owner Arte Moreno prefers free agents to make decisions quickly.
The Angels have been on the lookout for starting pitching since the 2013 season ended, addressing it in a major way when they acquired left-handed pitchers Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago in a three-team trade with the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks, giving up power bat Mark Trumbo and pitcher A.J. Schugel in the process. They also inked Mark Mulder to a minor league deal earlier this month.
Even with those acquisitions, the Angels haven't rested on their laurels. During the offseason they've been linked to the recently signed Jason Hammel, Chris Capuano, Paul Maholm and Bronson Arroyo, though at varying degrees of interest.
As it stands now, the Angels' rotation will feature Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Santiago, Skaggs and Garrett Richards, which might explain exactly why they're still looking at the available options. Richards has seen parts of three seasons in the majors as both a starter and reliever (29 starts, 55 relief appearances), registering a 4.42 ERA in 230 frames, with 157 strikeouts against 85 walks. He has a slightly better ERA as a starter (4.37 versus 4.57) though he strikes out more than a batter less per inning when he starts. While Skaggs is a former top prospect, he's yet to show why in the majors, with a career ERA of 5.43, proving to be both hittable (9.0 hits per nine) and wild (3.7 walks per nine). Santiago has seen relative success in his brief time as a starter (27 career starts), though he struggles with his control, which could come back to haunt him over a full season in the rotation.
While the Angels have been linked to numerous starting pitchers, they don't seem to be in a rush to sign anyone in particular. They do have a modicum of depth in Joe Blanton, who is currently slotted into long relief, but given his performance last year that's depth in name only. The most intriguing name on the market is A.J. Burnett who recently announced he would not be retiring, and more importantly, was open to pitching outside of Pittsburgh. Burnett was not made a qualifying offer by Pittsburgh and thus does not carry draft pick compensation, making him more attractive than fellow free agents Ubaldo Jimenez and former Angel Ervin Santana.
Lower tier options include the aforementioned Arroyo, Capuano and Maholm, as well as retreads Jake Westbrook, Joe Saunders, Aaron Harang and Jeff Karstens, making it a bit more understandable why the Angels have dipped their toes into the free agent waters rather than jumping in full force.
If the Angels don't end up with Burnett, it would make sense for them to wait out the market and acquire two of the remaining veterans for a lower cost as there isn't likely to be a tangible difference between them in quality, and starting pitching depth is always at a premium. Burnett is the best impact option though, and given the reported offer to Garza, it's reasonable to think that Moreno and general manager Jerry Dipoto would be eager to make a commitment to him.