Welcome to the third installment of the If I were Perry Minasian series, where CtPG writers detail the transactions they would make for their desired Angels offseason.
In order to rosterbate responsibly, guidelines for this exercise are as follows.
- Angels end-of-year payroll for luxury tax purposes shall not exceed $195 million, giving the GM $26 million to spend during the offseason (the club’s current projected CBT payroll is $169mm). See here for more on the Angels’ payroll situation.
- Factored into that projected payroll are arbitration projections from Cots. This shouldn’t deviate too much from MLBTR’s estimates, but we’ll use Cot’s figures simply for ease of use.
- When possible, use contract projections based on FanGraphs or MLB Trade Rumor estimates, as experts from these outlets have a better pulse on the free agent landscape than most.
- Trades must be as realistic as possible. One popular tactic among baseball fans on the internet is offering a bunch of players you don’t like in exchange for some you do. In reality, that’s not how trades actually work, so that’s off limits. The Baseball Trade Values site can be a good resource for a sanity check often times, but each team values players differently and their wants/needs/tendencies should be taken into account, too.
My offseason priorities:
- Starting Pitching, duh
- Rework the bullpen
- Middle infielder with a good hit tool
- Pick up a long term catcher (the system is mostly devoid of them) that can hit
Everyone knows the Angels need pitching, and not just starters. Though I have not been a huge fan of Cam Bedrosian, I was surprised to see him go. He was a least a decent piece and the Angels bullpen is full of question marks. Mike Mayers and Cam Bedrosian were arguable the best relievers on the team through the 2020 season. Both starters and relievers can be risky and costly on the free agent market so trade targets were a big part of my off season agenda.
Coming in as a new GM like Minasian, you also have the opportunity to not only reshape the major league roster, but the minor league one to some extent as well. The major league roster has a lot of good to build around. Anthony Rendon, Mike Trout, David Fletcher. The rotation as well has a few key pieces that could use some backup. You aren’t going to get an ace this off season, but you can get raise the floor on the current rotation. The secret to longer term success is going to be building, trading for, drafting, AND developing some strong pitching talent. The Dodgers have one of the best rotations in baseball and it’s largely all home grown.
With that being said, here is what my offseason would look like if I was Perry Minasian.
Trade Hector Yan (LHP), Arol Vera (SS), Jose Suarez (RHP) to Indians for Carlos Carrasco (RHP)
Carlos Carrasco [+$12 million]
While the Indians may want to keep Carlos Carrasco around, they are also in the hunt for shedding some payroll. Sending a top 10 athletic prospect like Vera is the cornerstone of this deal to pry Carrasco away. I’d love to hang on to either Jose Suarez or Hector Yan, but in this scenario I threw them both in to sweeten the deal. You don’t risk winning big if you don’t risk losing big. The question is how high are they are Suarez? Or does it matter if they love Vera enough?
Carrasco will be 34 when the 2021 season starts but there have been plenty of pitchers who throw well into the mid to late 30’s. At his best, Carrasco is a front end pitcher – especially in the Angels rotation. His veteran presence couldn’t hurt either. His walk rate was a bit worrisome this year but the rest of his numbers in the short season were solid and he’d slot in nicely behind Dylan Bundy in the 2021 rotation.
Beyond 2021, Carrasco would be under control for 2022 with a vesting option of $14M for 2023 which is based on a predetermined number of innings pitch. Should the team not wish to keep him in 2023, his contract carries a $3M buyout.
Trade Jeremiah Jackson (SS/2B) and Alexander Ramirez (OF) to the Cardinals for Giovanny Gallegos
[no monetary change]
Giving up two top 30 prospects may seem like an overpay for the Angels but it may even be a slight underpay. Gallegos isn’t even arbitration eligible until 2022 and is under control through the 2024 season. He won’t come cheap. Jackson and Ramirez are the Angels #4 and #14 prospects but in a system that is stacked with middle infield and outfield prospects. Those guys are some of the easiest to draft and they can make solid trade pieces.
29-year-old Gallegos has some nasty stuff, including a wipeout slider. Over 104 big league games, Gallegos has 148 Ks in 120.2 innings with a career 0.936 WHIP and 3.13 FIP. He’s exactly the kind of solid and dependable bullpen piece the Angels need.
Trade Matt Thaiss (1B/OF) and Leonardo Rivas (SS) to Orioles for Jose Iglesias (SS)
Jose Iglesias [+$3.5 million]
The Orioles picked up Iglesias’s option for 2021 but that doesn’t mean he’s there to stay. Like many teams, the Orioles may look to shed salary, and Iglesias may available for the right deal. The Orioles would get back a pair of young players that could fill their lineup for years including former top prospect Matt Thaiss and the Angels #26 prospect who could work his way into the big league some time next year.
Iglesias is not the defensive player he once was but if he shows signs of too much slow down in the field, Fletcher could fill the SS void and Iglesias can slide over to second. At the plate, Iglesias had a ridiculous 2020 season where he hit .373 but that was in only 39 games. He does have a career .278/.319/.381 slashline which is not spectacular but is right about where Simmons’ slash was an Angel.
Iglesias is only a short term fix of course so we’ll have to re-address this position again in 2022.
Trade Jo Adell (OF) to the Dodgers for Dylan Floro (RHP), Andy Pages (OF), Keibert Ruiz (C)
Dylan Floro [+0.9 million]
Don’t get me wrong, Jo Adell is good. I’m not trading him just because he had a rough cup of coffee in 2020. I AM trading him because I think the Angels could greatly benefit from a long term catcher in the system – and one who is major league ready. Keibert Ruiz also comes with a steady bat, though he’s no Martin Maldonado behind the plate. Those who know me also know I’m not big on catcher metrics other than maybe CS %. Framing? Overrated. Catchers who holds his own behind the plate and can hit .270+? They are NOT overrated.
The Dodgers won’t let Ruiz go easily. He is after all, their #2 prospect. Jo Adell should get that done and he’s a bit of an overpay so along comes a young Andy Pages who can be be an every day starter when Justin Upton is gone as well as Dylan Floro, another piece to bolster the bullpen.
Sign Justin Wilson (LHP)
2 years, $10.6 million [+$5.3 million]
Aside from Patrick Sandoval who could end up in the rotation at some point, the bullpen has no other lefties. Justin Wilson is the man for the job at a pretty reasonable price. He’s also a master of soft contact and ground balls. Baseball Savant compares him to Luis Castillo, Diego Castillo, Eduardo Rodrigues, and Justus Sheffield – not a bad group to be compared with. Wilson is far from great against righties but he’s lethal against lefties and should slot in well later in games against lefty heavy lineups.
Wilson was also born in Anaheim and went to High School and college in Fresno, so I’m sure he wouldn’t mind coming back to California.
Sign Garrett Richards (RHP)
2 years, $16 million [+$8 million]
Bring him back! Richards is no longer an ace, nor does he really have that potential. But Richards could make solid middle of the rotation addition. The Padres used Richards out of the bullpen and as a starter. They kept his pitch counts low most of the season due to him coming back from TJ surgery. Now that TJ is behind him, 2021 should see a Richards who can put up a sub 4 ERA and log some strong regular innings for the Angels. Plus, Mike Trout hasn’t hit .300 since Richards left Anaheim – coincidence??
Sign Trevor May (RHP)
2 years, $10million [+$5 million]
Trevor May would bring some extra fire to this re-tooled bullpen. Baseball savant has his whiff % in the 99th percentile and he throws a nice fastball, slider, changeup combo. May’s fastball has some serious heat, a staple of the Eppler era, but May isn’t just a wild, throw hard pitcher. The Angels just need to nab him before the Mariners do and bring him back home to Seattle.
Non-tender Hansel Robles, Noé Ramirez, Justin Anderson, Keynan Middleton, Felix Péna, Matt Andriese, Franklin Barreto
[Sheds $9.2 million]
Yes, that’s 6 pitchers who are getting the axe. I was on the fence with Noé but I needed the extra money so Rahul wouldn’t yell at me for going over budget. The primary goal of my off season plan was to retool the ineffective pitching staff by reshaping the bullpen and building out starting pitching depth. The bullpen was a mess this season, so most of them are gone here. The new additions are more than enough to fill the void and should elevate this bullpen to new levels in 2021.
Total money spent: $25.5 million in 2021
Offseason in Review
There you have it. A few few starting pitcher additions, long term catcher addition and a retooled bullpen. Is it perfect? No. You can only do so much when you are hamstrung with huge unmovable contracts, a mediocre farm, lineup holes and a pitching staff that was a disaster in 2020. Does it get the Angels to the playoffs? I think it will and gives them a shot the next few years while they look to rebuild the farm and wait for some of the minor league top talent to mature.
I also plan on bringing on Brandon Marsh. He’s most likely ready. If he’s not, Ward can help fill that spot for the time being. Marsh would be a great asset in right field and his lefty bat helps as well. Jo Adell in right field has never made much sense as he’s blocked in left by Justin Upton for a few more years.
There are some interesting moves above, so have at me and let’s hear your takes on this plan!
Below, you will find the projected 26-man roster and depth chart.
- David Fletcher, 2B
- Mike Trout, CF
- Anthony Rendon, 3B
- Jared Walsh, 1B
- Jose Iglesias, SS
- Shohei Ohtani, DH
- Justin Upton, LF
- Keibert Ruiz C
- Brandon Marsh, RF
- Max Stassi, C
- Albert Pujols, 1B/DH
- Taylor Ward, IF/OF
- Luis Rengifo, IF
- Dylan Bundy, RHP
- Carlos Carrasco, RHP
- Andrew Heaney, RHP
- Griffin Canning, RHP
- Garrett Richards, RHP
- Rotation Depth:
- Shohei Ohtani
- Patrick Sandoval
- Jaime Barria
- Justin Wilson, LHP
- Trevor May, RHP
- Mike Mayers, RHP
- Dylan Floro, RHP
- Ty Buttrey, RHP
- Giovanny Gallegos, RHP
- Patrick Sandoval, LHP
- Jaime Barria, RHP