The Los Angeles Angels entered the 2022 offseason facing the same questions they have faced the previous five… “How will the Angels get Trout and Ohtani to the playoffs?” After an injury-plagued 2022 season and Owner Arte Moreno announcing the selling of the team, it was unclear how active the Halos would be on the market this offseason. However, quite quickly, GM Perry Minasian made it clear his number one priority was adding quality Major League depth. To this point, the Angels have added SP Tyler Anderson (FA), INF Brandon Drury (FA), INF Gio Urshela (Trade), OF Hunter Renfroe (Trade), OF Brett Phillips (FA), and RHP Carlos Estevez (FA) to the club. This now begs the question, “What’s Next?” With camps quickly approaching, let us take a dive into three remaining Free Agents the Angels should be taking a long look at heading into Spring Training.
1. SP Michael Wacha
The Angels are still waiting for another Starting Pitcher to add to their six-man rotation. Heading into 2023, they currently have a rotation that consists of Shohei Ohtani (RHP), Tyler Anderson (LHP), Patrick Sandoval (LHP), Reid Detmers (LHP), and Jose Suarez (LHP). This lefty-heavy rotation needs another righty to stabilize the rotation and take that 6th and final spot. One of these options is RHP Michael Wacha, who is coming off a decent 2022 season with the Boston Red Sox. The 31-year-old righty went 11-2 with a 3.32 ERA in 23 starts with the Red Sox. Signing Wacha would add a proven Major League starter to the back end of the rotation and is better than any other internal options they could turn to, like Griffin Canning (who has not pitched since 2021), Tucker Davidson, or Chase Silseth. Not to mention, Wacha, who has struggled with injuries throughout his career, would benefit from a six-man rotation. It seems clear that Perry Minasian is not willing to bet on unproven talent and will make another addition to the rotation via Free Agency or the Trade Market.
Prediction: 2 Years / $26 Million
2. LHP Matt Moore
Last season the Angels saw their Starting Rotation blossom and become one of the top 12 rotations in all of baseball but saw their bullpen struggle throughout the season. The Halos bullpen ranked 25th in Runs/G at 3.85 and had an OBP of.297 is good enough for 26th best. Currently heading into camp, the Angels bullpen consists of Aaron Loup (LHP), Ryan Tepera (RHP), Jose Quijada (LHP), Carlos Estevez (RHP), Jimmy Herget (RHP), Jamie Barria (RHP), (RHP) Chris Rodriguez. At this point in the offseason, the Angels are looking for guys to sign with low risk and high reward. Enter: Matt Moore. Once a starter, turned reliever went 5-2 with a 1.95 ERA throwing 74 innings in 63 games with the Texas Rangers last season. The lefty would fit in nicely with the Halos bullpen and would not cost as much as other relievers we have seen signed on the market. Other possible candidates for this type of back-end role include Zack Britton (LHP), Michael Fulmer (RHP), Alex Reyes (RHP), Corey Knebel (RHP), Tyler Duffey (RHP), and Matt Wisler (RHP).
Prediction: 1 Year / $ 3.5 Million
3. SS Elvis Andrus
The Angels have addressed the infield this offseason by adding Gio Urshela and Brandon Drury. Despite all the added depth in the infield and missing out on the top four shortstops, they still have a hole at the position. Last season we saw the Angels march out Andrew Velasquez, Luis Rengifo, Livan Soto, and David Fletcher to man the middle infield. With uncertainty looming over all of them in 2023, it would be a safe bet to add a veteran guy who can manage the SS position. Elvis Andrus hit .249 with 17 HR, 58 RBI, and an OBP of .303 in 2022 with the Oakland A’s and Chicago White Sox. While his offensive production has lessened over the years, the Angels have the power in the lineup and just need Andrus to be reliable defensively. Adding a guy like Andrus would also allow the Angels to explore the trade market for guys like David Fletcher and Luis Rengifo.
Prediction: 1 Year / $ 4.5 Million
GM Perry Minasian has talked all offseason about adding impact guys who have the right “makeup” and fit the current clubhouse mold. He has done a great job adding those impact players to a team that, on paper, should vie for one of the Wild Card spots this upcoming season. Right now, Perry gets an offseason grade of a B+, but adding impact players like Michael Wacha, Matt Moore, and Elvis Andrus would not only boost his grade to an A but fill out the Halos roster, making them ready for battle in the American League West in 2023.