MLB Offseason Preview: Los Angeles Angels

MLB Offseason Preview: Los Angeles Angels

by November 29, 2021 0 comments

Of the teams that have already started their offseason, the Angels may be near the top. They have made Steve Cohen and the New York Mets unhappy after taking away Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Loup. Another disappointing season could have owner Arte Moreno reaching into his pockets to try to elevate this team before Mike Trout‘s prime is over and while Shohei Ohtani is still young. In his second offseason, General Manager Perry Minasian has a lot on his plate. Can he deliver?

Minasian may have already lost his closer, Raisel Iglesias after he denied the qualifying offer. That may come down as good news for Los Angeles, as paying that much for a relief pitcher is generally not too wise. Spending has never been Moreno’s chief problem. Can the team spend on the right players?

Make sure to check out all of our other MLB Offseason Previews.

Offseason Strategy

Once again, the pitching remains thin. Alex Cobb, Jose Quintana, and Andrew Heaney are either gone or on their way out. Dylan Bundy turned back into a potato after a strong 2020. Ohtani and Patrick Sandoval are a good start but there are significant injury and sample size concerns for both of them. If they want to be a serious contending team, then the Angels cannot rely on cheap options or their prospects again. It has never worked out for them.

Keys to the Offseason

Sign At Least Two Starters

With Syndergaard in the mix, there is an argument that this is halfway done. But “Thor” has only pitched two innings over the past two seasons. They need a reliable arm, or two. This free-agent market is flooded with legendary future Hall of Fame pitchers. The Angels missed out on Justin Verlander, but that’s fine, considering he is in the same injury spot as Syndergaard. This rotation needs help. Only Ohtani crossed the 100 innings threshold last season.

Get An Actual Closer

If Iglesias is gone, then the Angels still need relief help. Loup was great last season but there is a good chance for regression. Plus, the bullpen was bad even with Iglesias last year. Mike Mayers and Austin Warren are two intriguing names still on the team. However, they are hardly good enough to lead the ‘pen. There are a good amount of options for the Angels, lots of them are even better than Loup.

Bring In an Infielder

Jared Walsh held down the fort at first base and Anthony Rendon should be healthy for 2022. But in between them? Jose Iglesias left midseason. David Fletcher was awful, with a 71 OPS+. None of the replacements for Rendon stepped up. So while pitching is the main issue here, the team should add a few hitters as well.

Offseason Targets

Max Scherzer, 37, Starting Pitcher

The three-time Cy Young winner would be a massive catch for the Angels. He proved that he still has it in 2021, finishing third in NL Cy Young voting. Scherzer dominated for the crosstown Dodgers, with a 1.98 ERA and a 0.820 WHIP. While he may not be young enough to get more than two or three years, Scherzer is dependable. But does he think that the Angels can win?

Marcus Stroman, 30, Starting Pitcher

First Syndergaard, then Loup, now Stroman? This would put Minasian on the Mets’ hit list. Stroman has made it clear on Twitter that he is looking for a five-to-seven-year deal. Los Angeles would be better off going for the lower end of that range. After opting out of the 2020 season, Stroman had a 3.02 ERA over a league-leading 33 starts. His K/9 was a career-high 7.9. The Angels look like one of his main suitors.

Donovan Solano, 34, Infielder

While 2021 was his worst season in San Francisco, Solano was still an above-average player, with a 103 OPS+. He also hit a career-high seven home runs (ok, maybe don’t brag about that). In his three seasons for the Giants, Solano was very productive, with a strikeout rate of 18.8 percent, a .308 average, and a .789 OPS. He would be the perfect option for one or two years as a stopgap for Los Angeles.

Mark Melancon, 36, Relief Pitcher

Melancon is a good example of a veteran closer that the Angels could go after. He was a reliable pitcher for the Padres last year, making his fourth all-star team and first since 2016. Melancon had a 2.23 ERA with a 3.36 FIP, a league-leading 39 saves, and a 56.7 percent groundball rate. While Iglesias might be the stronger player and a better bet for more years, Melancon would be a good option for the next two-or-so campaigns.

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