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MLB free-agency grades: Desperate for pitching, Los Angeles Angels add Noah Syndergaard

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What Syndergaard's deal with Angels means for pitching landscape (0:58)

Joon Lee breaks down what Noah Syndergaard's contract with the Angels means for the free-agent pitching landscape. (0:58)

Jose Quintana, Julio Teheran, Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahill, Jesse Chavez, Tim Lincecum. That's a list of free-agent starting pitchers the Los Angeles Angels signed over the last six years, all in an effort to plug glaring holes on the cheap. They each obtained one-year contracts guaranteeing no more than $11 million, and combined for a -- gulp -- 6.62 ERA in Angels uniforms.

Angels starting pitchers produced the second fewest FanGraphs wins above replacement during that six-year window, topping only the group fielded by a Baltimore Orioles team that lost more than 100 games three times from 2016 to 2021. Homegrown pitchers didn't develop well enough and minor trades for arms nearing free agency only helped marginally. And so the Angels languished on, wasting away more of Mike Trout's prime without seemingly learning from their own miscalculations.

That brought us to Tuesday morning and a $21 million agreement with Noah Syndergaard, and this astute analysis from Trout himself:

Syndergaard is still relatively fresh off Tommy John surgery, having made all of two appearances over the last two seasons. But he represents the first true high-upside gamble the Angels have made for their rotation in a long time, and he has the ability to become their first true ace since Jered Weaver, who essentially stopped being one nine years ago.