Welcome to the fifth 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 $200 million, giving the GM about $45 million to spend during the offseason. ($45,011,906)
- Factored into that projected payroll are arbitration projections from Cot’s. 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 MLBTR 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.
- Pitching. I really want Detmers and Canning starting the year in AAA as depth.
- Defense that plays to the strength of the pitching staff.
- Making a good offense a great one.
Junior Guerra is just too easy of a call. By letting him go I add an additional $1.3 million to my fantasy spending pool. Total budget is now $46.4 million.
I keep Phil “Goose” Gosselin, however. For $1.5 million he’ll make up the short end of a platoon at first base and provide Rendon some off days early in the year as he ramps back up from injury. Last year Walsh turned in a .170/.208/.357 line against lefties, slightly below his already bad career line. Goose, however, turned in a very respectable .275/.344/.352 line vs. southpaws and has a much better overall career slash line vs. lefties. For $1.5 million, that’s a keeper.
Get it out of the way:
Mike Trout is moving to left field. Similar to when his mentor Torii Hunter slid over so the younger, swifter Peter Bourjos could man center, it is time for Trout to change positions. Mike is bigger and stronger than he was when he took over center as a spry 20 year old. And he’s coming off a significant calf injury. Let Marsh run around in center.
We need a pitcher who is both cost controlled and effective. The fourth guy on Cleveland’s staff, Cal Quantrill, fits that mold perfectly. We have athletic upside in spades, the Guardians have pitching. The price is steep but I send out Jo Adell, Kyren Paris, and Orlando Martinez to Cleveland for Quantrill. I’ve now added 4 years of control for a guy who pitched 149.2 innings of 155 ERA+ ball last year. This trade could make me look really bad in the future, but I need to win now.
I’ll address the shortstop position and start building a bullpen right from the gate. Young OF prospect Alexander Ramirez is shipped to the Reds for Kyle Farmer and Amir Garret. Farmer is superfluous on the Reds due to the emergence of young stud Barrero but comes with a really nice glove and three years of control. With a price of $2.2 million for 2021, he fits right into my scheme and budget.
Amir Garrett had a bad 2021 after really good 2019 and 2020 campaigns. At some point I’m going to have to gamble on a couple of relievers and I’ll hope getting the hard throwing lefty out of a hitter’s paradise can get better results. Garret is a non-tender candidate in a cost cutting Cincy but the trade ensures I snag him and know the price.
Net add: $4.4 million.
This should come as zero surprise to anybody here. I start with my workhorse Marcus Stroman. Both durable and good, he’s a guy you can count on to take 30+ starts and be 30% or so above league average. For a pitching staff rated near the bottom in both total innings and run production, he’s a godsend. I’ll let him feed ground balls to Rendon/Farmer/Fletcher/Walsh all day.
4 years, $90 million. This is a midway point between Ben Clemens at FG and the average crowd sourcing. I go a bit above the average because I structure the deal as $15 million in 2022 followed by three years of $25 million. This frees up a little cash for an extra bullpen piece but is realistic.
Net add: $15 million with some impact down the line.
(Note: We all know the Angels signed Thor, so I’ll replace Stroman with Thor for the rotation down below.)
Speaking of ground balls, I want more of them. Let’s snag Kendall Graveman for 2 years $14 million and Aaron Loup for 2 years $12 million. These two have great ground ball rates and when on their game can be lights out. Graveman came back to earth a bit in Houston but still was a stud. All Loup does is throw 70 innings of 3 ERA ball year after year with little platoon splits and lots of ground balls.
Net add: $13 million
We definitely need catching help. While Max Stassi has been a stud, he’s also had surgery on both hips and outside of a short 2020 campaign has been pretty pedestrian against lefties. Manny Pina brings a good glove and had an OPS of .864 against lefties last year. Yes, a platoon behind the plate, but one with a good receiver every day and the chance to add to an already potent offense. 1 year $3 million
Net add: $3 million
I need a right fielder and I want one with more power than Adell has shown thus far. Joc Pederson has a career 123 wRC+ against right handed pitching. He’s OK in right field and able to take the strong side of a platoon. He can’t hit lefties to save his life, but Taylor Ward has a nice .265/.331/.414 career slash line against them. In the aggregate this should make for one solid offensive platoon with league average defense.
Net add: $9 million.
Shohei Ohtani, Marcus Stroman (Thor), Patrick Sandoval, Cal Quantrill, Jose Suarez, Jaime Barria
Starting Pitching depth:
Griffin Canning, Reid Detmers, Packy Naughton
Kendall Graveman, Aaron Loup, Amir Garret, Michael Mayers, Austin Warren, Janson Junk, Jose Quijada
Lineup vs. RHP:
Marsh, CF, Trout LF, Ohtani DH, Walsh 1B, Rendon 3B, Stassi C, Pederson RF, Farmer SS, Fletcher 2B
Lineup vs. LHP
Fletcher 2B, Trout LF, Ohtani DH, Rendon 3B, Gosselin 1B, Pina C, Ward RF, Farmer SS, Marsh CF
Bench: Gosselin, Velasquez, Upton, Manny Pina, Taylor Ward
I’ve added a solid 2 to a great staff in Stroman and a developing 2/3 guy with legitimate top of the rotation upside in Quantrill. The rotation is much more solid and youthful. Sandoval and Suarez are hitting what should be their primes. Canning and Detmers are in AAA developing and adding some depth. The Angels themselves appear to have chosen the upside of Thor to the stability of Stroman but I’ll leave my piece as is. This is what I would do.
The bullpen is admittedly thin but I had a budget. With any bounce back by Garret we should have a solid collection of arms for the last couple of innings. Mayers and Warren will be pushed to lower leverage situations with Junk and Quijada soaking up the lowest leverage innings. Really, this group needs some of the 2021 closers Perry drafted to emerge and/or some of the 4 relievers he sent to the AFL to come through if we’re going to have the bullpen be a positive.
Offensively and defensively this team is stacked. Right handed pitchers have to go through a gauntlet and they make up most of the league. The lineup vs. lefties might look light until you see the career splits of the guys I’ve subbed out. Oh, and each night the bench features guys who can pinch hit and stay in the game.