State of American League West: Los Angeles Angels
Major League Baseball is dark the final week of the year, but Inside the Rangers has updates on each of the Texas Rangers’ American League West rivals entering 2023.
Los Angeles Angels
2022 records: 73-89, third place, AL West (33 games behind Houston).
Manager: Phil Nevin (46-60, entering first full season with Angels in 2023 after taking over on interim basis in 2022).
Free Agency Losses: P Michael Lorenzen (signed with Detroit), P Mike Mayers (minors – signed with Kansas City).
Free agency gains: P Tyler Anderson (from Los Angeles Dodgers), 3B Brandon Drury (from San Diego), P Carlos Estevez (from Colorado), P Justin Garza (from Cleveland), CF Luis Barrera (from Oakland, minor-league deal), P Jhonathan Diaz (retained by Angels on minor-league deal), P Nash Walters (retained by Angels on minor-league deal), P Chris Devenski (from Philadelphia, minor-league deal)
Trades: Acquired INF Gio Urshela from Minnesota Twins for RHP Alejandro Hidalgo; Traded RHPs Janson Junk and Elvis Peguero and LHP Adam Seminaris to Milwaukee Brewers for OF Hunter Renfroe.
Remaining free agents: P Archie Bradley, C Kurt Suzuki, 3B Matt Duffy, CF Magneuris Sierra, P Touki Toussaint, 2B Philip Gosselin, P Kyle Barraclough, CF Monte Harrison, OF Dillon Thomas, P Rob Zastryzny, 1B Mike Ford, P Brian Moran, P Alex Meyer, P. Greg Mahle.
Projected Lineup in Field: C Max Stassi, 1B Jared Walsh, 2B David Fletcher, 3B Anthony Rendon, SS Andrew Velazquez, LF Taylor Ward, CF Mike Trout, RF Hunter Renfroe, DH Shohei Ohtani
Projected starting rotation: Shohei Ohtani, Patrick Sandoval, Jose Suarez, Tucker Davidson, and Tyler Anderson.
Outlook: The Angels are a good team, but they have one significant, lingering issue that will be one until its resolved, and that’s the future of Shohei Ohtani.
The game’s most versatile front-line player is up for free agency after the 2023 season and the Angels reportedly flirted with the idea of trading him before the 2022 deadline. They didn’t and signed him to a $30 million deal for this coming season.
After that? All bets are off. And, the potential sale of the team clouds the situation. So does Mike Trout’s obvious talent, large contract and propensity for injury.
If Ohtani and Trout are healthy and productive, the Angels can be a really good team. There’s a solid supporting cast and Anderson gives them another quality arm in the rotation.
But, if either Ohtani or Trout, or both, can’t stay healthy or don’t play to their talent, then late July in Anaheim could be quite dramatic and seismic for the franchise.
What’s left? If Los Angeles wants to make a push to catch either Houston or Seattle — both of which won more than 90 games and made the playoffs last season — the Angels probably need more than what they have right now.
The Angels could pursue another free-agent starter or swing a deal for another veteran. One more bat wouldn’t hurt either and the middle infield shapes to up as a fierce competition, especially if a young player like Livan Soto is ready to push for playing time.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard
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