Fanpost: Assessing the needs for 2022

I started jotting down a list categorizing what the Angels need vs. what they currently have and don’t have, based on the performances in 2021, to contend in 2022, and started thinking that it might be something worth sharing with others who have surely been thinking the same thing, too. It’s very much a work in progress, so read on with due skepticism.

What the Angels have:

The starting lineup: I think the starting lineup is pretty much set. Especially with Adell and Marsh showing that they can adjust to MLB level of play, it seems that we can fairly safely slot some variation of Adell, Trout, and Marsh in the OF. Despite not having a set shortstop, I think the IF is also pretty much set: given the plethora of shortstops available, we’ll have someone fairly competent there, hopefully one of the “second tier” ones who won’t break the bank. Catching and DH are also set, obviously, although there are caveats (to be explored below).

Back of the rotation: I think the young starters have shown enough promise that we can cautiously expect them to occupy 2 (3 if you are far more optimistic than I am) spots in the rotation in some form, but no more. Young pitchers are young pitchers. They’ll be inconsistent and may need to ride the Salt Lake shuttle as necessary and no one should be surprised if they don’t pitch like a top of the rotation or even mid rotation types.

A working philosophy for the bench: I like the logic that went into the bench for 2021 was finally constructed and would like to see a similar mix of players back (but not necessarily the same ones). I think every team should plan on having a catcher who can catch 1/3 of the games as a matter of principle anyways and given that Stassi has not been consistently available, that should go double for us, and we did sign a player fitting that role in Suzuki (even if he didn’t quite live up to the expectations–hopefully, we’ll do better next year). A good glove first IF who can play up the middle is something every bench should have and someone like Mayfield has been useful. While I like the idea of having a glove first OF like Lagares on the bench, given the likely OF makeup for next year, this may be something we can dispense with, since all three can play CF. Finally, a good bat off the bench that can play corners (IF and OF) decently, preferably RH (especially since Walsh does seem to struggle against lefties), and here, we have a couple of solutions in-house (Ward, who, for all the vitriol he generated while playing CF, has developed into a good bat first reserve who can play corners passably–and can back up Rendon and Walsh; and Upton, who probably/hopefully will not be the “regular” LF next year, but likely to be used frequently to let an OF or Ohtani rest and be used as a RH power bat off the bench. I think we’ll be pretty good if we can find a few good defensive middle infielders and CF’s who can be signed to cheap minor league deals (basically, equivalents of Lagares and Mayfield next year–but also a couple more spare parts that can be stashed in SLC.) I think those players are not too hard to find.

What’s Missing:

Top/middle of the rotation arms: I’m a bit of Ohtani skeptic: as long as Ohtani is a full time DH, he can’t be used like a real “ace.” 90 pitches a start is likely the maximum that can be reasonably expected from him and he is probably only good for 120-160 innings. He will put up ace numbers over those innings, but he just won’t be available. So we need an arm that can be used like an ace, who may not need be “ace good” (we can get that out of Ohtani), but who will at least be consistently above average and remain available more readily.

Also, since I don’t trust the young pitchers to be reliable enough to be anything other than back of the rotation arms next year, we will probably need a middle of rotation type arm (or arms) to slot between Ohtani/quasi #1 arm and the kids–more of innings eater type(s). Cobb is a good example here, but doesn’t need to be him.

Finally, we could use a back of the rotation insurance policy for the kids that can slot into the bullpen if the youth turn out to be reliable enough. These should give us 6 starters: Ohtani, 2 kids, 3 acquisitions, including 1 “pseudo” ace, and 1 or 2 “mid rotation types” and/or 1 insurance policy.

Closer: I don’t think there’s much of a question here. I think we need to re-sign Raisel and gamble. He should be good next year and probably 2023. We have a fairly short window while Trout is still young and good, Ohtani can do his two-way thing, and Rendon (hopefully) can play a lot of games.

The rest of the bullpen: I actually thought I could slot the bullpen (or potential bullpen) as something that we already have, then last two Baltimore games happened. For all the stories of bullpen collapses, the relief corps has actually been fairly competent last few months. A lot of interesting arms who should be major league (bullpen) ready shortly have been injected into the system, especially from the trades (I don’t think most of the new draftees will be ready next year, although some may be by ’23), and I’m a big believer in dumpster diving for bullpen arms anyways–for lots of arms that are “interesting,” even if flawed, and can be stashed in AAA as necessary. I like what Minasian has done so far and I think this is something we can be cautiously optimistic about going forward.

Summary:

So I figure we need 1 “pseudo-ace”, 2 middling starters (or, one middling starter and a project), a less expensive shortstop, a super-backup catcher, a few glove first players signed to minor league deals; re-sign D-Cell, and whatever arms that can be scavenged for the bullpen. It’s not as short a list as I had hoped and it will be somewhat expensive. (If we try to find a pseudo-ace among FA (say, Scherzer), the cost will be at least 25 mil per year, I expect (unless we pay a big price in prospects to swing a big trade). D-cell will be expensive (poss, at least 15 mil per year) Middling starters might cost around 10 mil a year each and still not pan out (I do envy what Giants pulled off with Desclafani and Wood and get unhappy at the Quintana deal–I’ll confess that I was rather optimistic about that, alas). Even a “mid-tier” SS will cost at least in the neighborhood of 10 mil a year. So we are looking at about $50-60 million on new players to compete? Does this seem realistic?

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ihearhowie3.0
Trusted Member
1 month ago

I suspect its gonna be a surprising offseason. That Marsh-Meyer near trade gave us an idea of what may be coming

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Super Member

I’m in the same boat as Duderino… also the same boat as the last few off seasons. Some poor soul always does one of these fan posts and states we need a couple high end rotation arms and a couple high end bullpen arms.

Then I look at what is actually available and see there are really just one or two (or nill) high end rotation arms on the market and some gambles. So I wonder where those arms are supposed to come from, especially if our farm is low stock (it’s at least a little better now).

Then the two actually good arms sign elsewhere for what ever reason, generally NOT an unwillingness for Arte to pay them.

Then the whining begins. I ask said whiners what they would have done if, say the the top two pitchers wanted to play in NY or near South New Jersey. They get fustrated and stomp their feet and declare that “that is the GD GM’s job to figure out huffle puffle ruffle!”

Rinse, repeat. I’m glad we drafted 20 pitchers. I hope we sign as many IFA pitchers as possible too. Then draft 20 more in next year’s larger draft. Replenishing 3-4 pitchers per winter via FA just isn’t gonna work. Next year will only be good if some of our young arms show out, which could happen, but it doesn’t make for exciting “paper GMing”.

BoyWithApple
Member
Trusted Member
1 month ago

Ever since the first time I heard the sickening phrase, the Angels are wasting Mike Trout’s prime, my dream has been for the Angels to spend an entire draft selecting nothing but college pitchers, and hallelujah, it has (mostly) come to pass. I, for one, am excited. The early returns on this year’s Angel draft class have been highly encouraging.

Cowboy26
Super Member
1 month ago

Same Boat? hopefully its not a leaker.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ar7DgREshAk

2002heaven
Trusted Member
1 month ago

Why the hell do you come up with nonsense like the owner doesn’t want to sign them?
Yes like he resigned Zack Greinke and signed Gerritt Cole or Trevor Bauer. Oh but he offered them money however, Got It, so he’s off the hook now. This is why we’re gonna have to scout and grow our own pitchers like that team that Walker Buehler plays for…….Because our owner ( my new name for him so I won’t have to mention him by name ) won’t pay a top shelf level pitcher! 😠  He’s willing to blow a lot of money on 30 yr old injury prone power hitters for 6-10 yrs but not for a guy like Dallas Keuchel for $18.5M, BYE!!!

El_Duderino
Trusted Member
1 month ago

I’ve been saying this for several years now (and I have been correct, btw), but I still have no idea how we get some starting pitching injected into this mess by next year.

I’m not as optimistic as many of you on Sandoval, Suarez, Barria, Canning, Detmers crew panning out to anything useful on a playoff team. No matter how hard I squint these guys are at most innings-eaters if healthy. Sandoval and Detmers probably have the most upside here though. Suarez, Barria, Canning are AAAA, it sucks, but that’s what it is.

On a positive note the position-player-side of the team is giving me a 2000-2001 vibe right now with Walsh, Marsh, Adell, Fletcher (and even Ohtani!) guys all becoming the core of the next team. They all seem tight and real fun to watch. I think it’s really important to get a core like this, and put them behind Trout, Rendon, Ohtani and you have the start of some really fun teams. The next few years, we really should be set for the most part as far as position players (minus a SS).

But damn, this pitching. I’ve just got nothing there. The only thing I think we can hope for is to have a couple of our minor league pitchers pan out gold and we get another K-Rod or three, as well as some starters in there somewhere.

Banking on free agency for pitching is no longer the way to win in 2022 in my opinion, unless you can land a young, healthy ace still in his 20s but I’m not sure that option really exists anymore.

Last edited 1 month ago by El_Duderino
Jeff Joiner
Editor
Super Member
1 month ago
Reply to  El_Duderino

Exactly. There’s enough in the pipeline to have a mostly home grown staff in 2023 that has both upside and depth.

From here to there, just too much of a gap.

2002heaven
Trusted Member
1 month ago
Reply to  El_Duderino

Dude this is going to be a 3 yr journey for Perry
The owner isn’t going to pay for good veteran pitching not even for guys like Dallas Keuchel or Hyun Jin Ryu. The only alternatives are to be like TB, OAK, MILW, and CLEV, which means we have to get exponentially better at scouting and development especially with kids past the 3rd round and get good at dumpster diving like OAK and MILW. I’ve never seen this organization find that many guys like Josh Hader, Brandon Woodruff or Shane Bieber and Perry’s got his work cut out for him.

Jeff Joiner
Editor
Super Member
1 month ago

What we have…

Starters: Ohtani, Sandoval, Detmers, Canning, Barria, Suarez

Bullpen: Warren, Wantz, Slegers

Tremendous outfield, most of an infield, good starting catcher.

Definitely need to add some stability to the rotation and a boatload of relief help. Do we have any relief help on the farm? Perry did draft legit closers from major programs like Vanderbilt and Miss.

I’m thinking 2023 is the year the recent draft really starts showing promise and fills some of the holes on the MLB roster. For now we have so many it will be tough to fix in one year.

BoyWithApple
Member
Trusted Member
1 month ago

There are so many holes in the Angels’ pitching staff that there is no possible way they could be filled by impactful free agent signings and trades in a couple of years. That model has repeatedly proven itself to be an utter failure. The only way out of the tailspin this franchise has been stuck in is through stockpiling young arms into our system and then developing them. Miraculously, Minasian has been able to pull off the first part of this plan. The Angels right now are overflowing with an unbelievable bounty of promising young pitchers.

Some of these men have already started the final course of their MLB readiness program. We have seen Patrick Sandoval, Jose Suarez, Chris Rodriguez, Reid Detmers, Packy Naughton, Austin Warren, and Jose Marte all take the hill for the Angels.

The Angel front office must immediately put to rest any notion of acquiring any mediocre, stop-gap pitchers to fill out the 2022 roster. 2022 has to be the year Sandoval, Suarez, Rodriguez et al get as many MLB innings in them as possible. Let them take their lumps and learn, and grow, and gain confidence. 2022 also has to be the year management gives significant MLB innings to Bachman, Bush, Olthoff, Criswell, Daniel, Tyler, and some of the other guys who are now doing exciting things in AA and AAA.

The Angels have it within their power to return to the playoffs in 2023 and strike fear into the hearts of their opponents. The team already has a powerful lineup stacked with very talented position players. But a triumphant return to the post season in 2023 can only happen if Angel management understands how crucial it is that 2022 has to be dedicated to developing the dizzying pool of young Angel pitchers into the rotation and bullpen that will lead the team once again to glory.

Of course, somewhere between now and 2023, Minasian will need to pick up a shortstop and a catcher, which shouldn’t be hard for him to do. It would also be nice to extend/resign Raisel Iglesias and pick up one more successful veteran pitcher through free agency or trade so that they, along with Ohtani, can mentor the youngsters.

As long as the main focus of this franchise stays on developing the young arms, 2023 will be ours.

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Super Member
Reply to  BoyWithApple

Not picking on just you here, but I think we’ve taken a couple scouts declaring that Bachman could possibly provide some pen innings even this year and blown that into multiple guys from this past draft being ready soon.

I just don’t want anyone to be let down when 19 out of 20 don’t even show up next year. The excitement over these kids is warranted and we should enjoy watching them and some of the guys who were in A ball this year advance. But even most of those Trash Panda pitchers are probably a year or most of a year away and the draft pitchers are more. And that’s OK.

But it seems like a lot of people are musing that some of these young arms will help in 2022. Maybe a couple eventually, probably in the pen and later a guy like Criswell, but not most of them. Even Bachman, as they seem to be stretching him to start, will likely move through a couple levels before he sniffs the bigs.

I am still giddy with joy though at the arms that have developed this year and the arms we drafted. I am pretty confident that we will see several seasons in a row where we have a couple solid pitching prospects each year to look forward to and plenty of tough pen arms.

BoyWithApple
Member
Trusted Member
1 month ago

I’m not expecting anyone from this year’s draft to be useful until 2023. And I’m not expecting 19 of the 20 to turn into significant members of the 2023 squad either.

But we’ve got Ohtani. We’ve got the pool of young pitchers who have already begun their MLB careers. It seems reasonable that at least two of them will turn into above average MLB pitchers by 2023. Hopefully we retain Iglesias and add one more impactful pitcher through FA/trade route. And we have all those arms in the minors. It seems reasonable to expect two or three of these MiLBers to make a splash in 2023.

If that all happens, it will mark a huge improvement over the insufferable rotations and bullpens that Angel GMs have hopelessly patched together since 2015. I expect mediocrity in 2022, but I am excited for 2023.

BoyWithApple
Member
Trusted Member
1 month ago
Reply to  BoyWithApple

I should be a good Buddhist though and avoid the path of suffering by tempering my enthusiasm.

Jeff Joiner
Editor
Super Member
1 month ago
Reply to  BoyWithApple

I’m with you partially because of the types of pitchers the Angels drafted this year. Many are already closers/bullpen guys.

Normally you take a kid with one good pitch, hope he’s a starter, then switch him to the bullpen after a few years when it doesn’t work out.

Perry drafted some closers this year. That whole 3 year trying to be a starter thing is out the window.

Luke Murphy was closing SEC and College World Series games.
Brett Kerry was closing SEC games for South Carolina
Jake Smith went from the bullpen to the rotation for Miami in the very tough ACC

And of course Bachman and to a large degree Bush are through to have pretty much MLB ready stuff out of the bullpen.

Add them to the intriguing arms in AA right now and I think we have enough lotto tickets to see a largely home grown staff emerge in 2023.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeff Joiner
BoyWithApple
Member
Trusted Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Thanks, Jeff. Now you’ve got me all excited again.

Cowboy26
Super Member
1 month ago
Reply to  BoyWithApple

Me too. But try not to make a mess this time ok?

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Super Member
Reply to  BoyWithApple

Yah. That sounds about right.

And just to be clear, I didn’t mean just your comment, that list of pitchers you gave reminded me that there’s been a lot of early chicken counting, which is WAY better than we we just plain didn’t even look for chickens at all.

We’ll see what happens in 2022. I’m not so sure a guy like Canning won’t be fairly good. Cobb wants back in and is useful. A lot will boil down to who we acquire. Someone will likely need to “break out” the way a guy like Wade Miley has… or imagine if the pitchers I listed were good, plus we got 2020 Bundy to add to Ohtani and Sandoval. We may also sign a goodish pitcher who doesn’t need to re-invent himself… that would add fuel to our hope.

2022 isn’t a total right off. The Angels have had almost NO good luck in years. If we get some, things could be different next year and then more dependably good in the future.

angelslogic
Super Member
1 month ago

Great write-up. But what in the world possessed you to write this?:

For all the stories of bullpen collapses, the relief corps has actually been fairly competent last few months.

steelgolf
Super Member
1 month ago
Reply to  angelslogic

The bullpen was first toasted way back in May. “Starters” only going 4 innings or less will have that effect on even the best of pens.

matthiasstephan
Trusted Member
1 month ago
Reply to  h27kim

But most of that was from two pitchers who we are unlikely to rely on moving forward, right? (Petrinka, Hoyt) or Peguero (rookie in his first assignment). Not a reliable indicator of the strength of the pen (just two games).

Fansince1971
Super Member
1 month ago

Nice analysis. My first thought is that one of Adell or Marsh are trade bait for top level pitching which this team desperately needs. There is also a need for depth as injuries happen. The emergence of Trout and Adell as major leaguers is significant as either can now be traded and expected to obtain decent value. Major league trade value has each at 40+. I’d trade one of them for a controllable tip pitcher. For example Adell, Adam’s and Canning for Marquez (Colorado).

Last edited 1 month ago by Fansince1971
Fansince1971
Super Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Fansince1971

Meant Marsh and Adell not Trout

matthiasstephan
Trusted Member
1 month ago
Reply to  h27kim

I would have said Adams, but you are packaging two of our OF prospects and Canning for the pitcher. Perhaps it is ‘safer’ to keep Adams and ‘spend’ one of the low-A SS with promise?

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Super Member
Reply to  h27kim

I think the logic is it’s a lot easier to sign a OF like Hunter Renfroe or Joc Pederson than a good SP.

matthiasstephan
Trusted Member
1 month ago

But trading only one (of the three) OF prospects and one (of the three, Jackson, Paris, Vera) SS prospects leaves us the possibility of filling all of those slots with young talent.

That lets us spend on pitching instead of expensive veteran bats, no?

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Super Member

Sure, honestly I don’t want to trade any of our top prospects right now. I just understand the thinking if it does happen.

Cowboy26
Super Member
1 month ago

What is the fascination with Jordyn Adams ? To date after 4 years and 864 Minor League Plate appearances he’s an underperforming athletic outfielder who has not proven he can effectively hit even at High A. Since his return from the IL on June 15 he’s slashed .227/.297/.311 in 249 PA’s at Tri City. I really doubt there is a franchise out there that would trade any real value for him (if they did we should trade him in a split second.) At this point I think we’re stuck with him with the hope that some day he’ll figure it out but I’m not holding my breath.

Cowboy26
Super Member
1 month ago
Reply to  h27kim

But is Colorado?

matthiasstephan
Trusted Member
1 month ago

Thanks for the post. A lot of interesting thoughts here.

I am not as concerned about the bullpen, at least not based on the last two days in Baltimore. Many of our heavier lifters lately were simply not available, injured or with Covid, or whatever. Petricka and Hoyt perhaps don’t belong in the pen, but I am not sure I have seen anyone thinking they are more than recent warm bodies. Peguero didn’t shine in his debut, but he will likely head back to the minors and showed some promise for future ability (at least to my eyes). We nave to resign Raisel – there is no other closer on the roster, and any FA closer available looks as expensive and more volatile.

We definitely need a part-time Catcher, and a SS. I would love to have a discussion of who those might be. I agree that otherwise the OF is done (no room for Lagares) and plugging in Ward and Mayfield (or Gosselin) as the remaining bench IF makes sense.

I am higher on some of the rotation arms than you are. I think Sandoval is better than Cobb, and Suarez has shown good stuff. I think we have 4 reliable back end starters, plus Ohtani, which leads me to agree we need two starters moving forward. Ideally we have the funds for a ‘top’ starter, but there are few available (maybe Scherzer? Stroman?). Otherwise, it is finding the best starters out there and hoping they are better than some of the finds in past years (where we had less money, or less promise on the team).

Despite the recent downturn, and struggling to stay around .500 (with a ton of injuries), I think there is promise for next year, a lot less on the shopping list, and more money to play with.

Eric_in_Portland
Super Member
1 month ago

I have no hope that we’ll sign or trade for top pitching. We’re going to have to develop it in the minors.

matthiasstephan
Trusted Member
1 month ago

We may have (Sandoval? C Rod?), but they aren’t proven (yet?).

What do we do next year though – isn’t that the question? We can’t just wait it out? So, do we trade/sign for another Cobb? Or try to target someone on a shorter (2-3 year deal) despite the risks?

Eric_in_Portland
Super Member
1 month ago

we’re in “if I were Perry” territory now. We can say what we’d like him to do but there simply isn’t room in Arte’s budget to sign Gausman, Stroman, Ray or anyone else who would be our #1 or #2. And that goes for trades, too. Maybe we could trade Adell (I don’t want to…I want that Adell, Marsh, Trout OF) as part of a package for a top pitcher but that top pitcher’s salary would still be too much for Arte to take on.

I’m all for having a $210 million budget, which is the current threshold before the tax kicks in but the Angels don’t operate like that. The threshold used to be $189 million, in 2016, and that seems to be where Arte has drawn the line. That’s why I have no hope of getting a proven top tier (or even second tier) starting pitcher. You look in the shop window, see something you like, put your hand in your pocket and find out you don’t have enough to buy.

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Super Member

I actually want to see what happens with that. Our line up is solid. In the past I wouldn’t have spent a lot to get a pitcher or two because it wouldn’t have helped all that much. The case may be different now. It depends on how PTP and Arte see it.

Who knows if Arte can see it, but I’d assume he knows he’ll have to go over the tax line at least for a couple years if the team’s winning and keeps players. Especially if he extends Ohtani. He may just decide now’s a good time to go closer to the limit, like 205M, if it gets us two good pitchers and puts us into the play off money. Then hope good, cheap pitching develops over the next two years to go along with cheap OF and he can pay Ohtani. It’s what I’d do. Maybe he will too.

matthiasstephan
Trusted Member
1 month ago

Is there not room in the budget to spend on pitching?

We have 111M committed (Trout, Rendon, Ohtani, Fletcher, Upton). We need an OF (Adell, Marsh = 1.1M), and an IF (Walsh, Iglesias (if we resign him) = 4M?). Catcher (Stassi (3M is double last year, in Arb 3) + a back up (double Suzuki’s salary gives us 3M). [Ward/Thaiss/Rojas/Wong backing up the OF/IF at pre-arb rates.]

So, that is 111M + 1.1 + 4 + 6. 122M.

Now, we have zero pitching. Our young starters are all pre-arb: Sandoval, Barria, Suarez, Detmers, C. Rod. Say 5M. Now at 127M.

Only Guerra and Mayers are under arb. Do we keep Guerra (at 4+ M?). Mayers is like 2.5M. Everyone else is pre-arb (Slegers, Selman, Bard), so, what 5M there? 132M.

Then we start spending to fill in the gaps. Raisel at 10M? 15M? Cobb at 10M? Scherzer at 20M a year? Who do you want? At what cost?

We would have about 40M to spend (assuming other costs at 10M or so). Did I miss anything? Anyone?

rosstrade
Member
1 month ago

Good analysis…

Cowboy26
Super Member
1 month ago

Good analysis but We have no idea what the CBT level is next year nor what Arte’s budget level will be . That is the biggest question that needs to be answered

matthiasstephan
Trusted Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Cowboy26

True. That is why I didn’t suggest any spending beyond what we have been spending. If Arte is willing to get closer to the cap or if the cap is moved, that changes the calculation (likely for more spending, imo).

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