Welcome to the third annual installment of the “If I Were Perry Minasian” series. In order to rosterbate responsibly, we will use the following guidelines:
- Payroll is to be $210 Million so you have $38.4 Million to spend.
- No trading Ohtani
- No contracts longer than three years
- Use either MLBTR’s estimated free agent salaries or their counterparts at Fangraphs
- You can clear roster space by non-tendering players
- Run all trades through the trade simulator at Baseball Trade Values dot com
Like Charles, I’m not going to write about what Perry has already done. I like it, but this is about what I would have done. This is a fantasy piece. So the writers should be free to craft their own plans with or without incorporating last week’s moves.
As far as reality, at this point we really need a left fielder, bullpen anchor, and catcher and have about $15-$17 million left to spend. I’d probably go for Wil Meyers in left, take a chance on Taylor Rogers in the bullpen and add the recently non-tendered Jorge Alfaro behind the dish.
As far as what I would do….
I want to add depth and options. The best teams don’t have a set guy at each position then need a minor leaguer to fill in for injury. They have coverage at the MLB level which gives managers the ability to play matchups and players the occasional rest day to keep them fresh.
Left field was atrocious for the Angels last year. We don’t currently have a guy on the roster capable of giving Trout a day off or letting him play left to rest a bit. Offense was non-existent from the catching tandem last season and we have no ideal how Jared Walsh will rebound from a serious surgery.
So I set out to get versatile players that will take our current glaring holes to at least average and provide coverage for the inevitable injury. In short, we have some studs who can carry the team but, like always, need to make a strong cast around them.
Sign Tyler Anderson 3 years $39 Million
Ok, so I took this one from real life. I’m kind of having it both ways here.
My next move is a trade.
The Brewers have a massive arbitration eligible crash and a bit of a roster crunch. Eric Lauer is a righty set to receive $5.2 million this year. Jose Suarez has a nearly identical WAR and will make minimum wage. Player wise, this is a pretty level trade. Lauer threw more innings but Suarez had slightly better rates stats. Suarez has an extra year of control.
In all the Angels take on $5.2 million and help the Brewers retain another player on their roster without setting their rotation back. The Brew Crew also adds a slick fielding prospect.
Tyrone Taylor‘s trade ability is listed as “high” by the site. He’ll turn 29 next year and carries a 102 wRC+ meaning he’s just a tad better offensively than MLB average. He also plays a really good left field and a solid center field when Trout needs time off. He’s a fourth outfielder on a good team, but miles better than what Adell and Moniak have provided this season. Taylor comes with four years of control so might be our fourth outfielder at some point.
His salary offsets Suarez, so this is a net $5.2 million spend.
In real life the Pirates flipped Kevin Newman to the Reds for a relief pitcher who isn’t much of a prospect. Here they land an MLB ready, cost controlled player in Thaiss who had a sweet swing in college that was endlessly tinkered with by the Angels crack development team. Thaiss is also out of options and this solves a roster problem for he Angels. The real life Perry could’ve beaten the deal and I would have.
In Newman we add a great glove at second and short with a wRC+ of 94. In short, he’s the Kyle Farmer/Joey Wendle guy I’ve been wanting to shore up the middle infield. I just didn’t mention him because I wanted to use him in my piece and not give the idea away.
Newman gives us three MLB caliber players up the middle of the diamond. I think the real life Perry did better in acquiring Urshela, but I’ve taken on substantially less salary which is important later. Net add $2.8 million.
So now that I’ve taken the black holes of suck in left field and pushed the likelihood of seeing a Squid/Mayfield/Wade infield down, let’s address the other glaring needs.
Sign Christian Vasquez 2 years $16 million.
Vasquez again fills multiple needs for the Angels. Primarily, he’s a far better catcher than Stassi on both sides of the ball. Stassi may rebound after a brutal 2022 season, but if he doesn’t we have Logan O’Hoppe waiting in the wings. This is how depth is built.
By bringing a league average bat to the catching position (99wRC+ last year), this greatly deepens the Angels lineup. Stassi was a 63 and Suzuki a 60 last year, for comparison. Also, Vasquez has experience at first base and a solid .257/.309/.422 line against lefties, which is a notable improvement over incumbent first baseman Jared Walsh’s production.
Walsh is coming off a significant surgery and is a wild card heading into the year. The immediate plan is to platoon Vasquez with Walsh at first. In reality, Vasquez could become the regular first baseman with a Stassi/O’Hoppe catching tandem if Walsh is toast.
In short, there are a lot of ways Vasquez can help the team and for $8 million a year he’s a godsend.
Sign Taylor Rogers 1 year $7.5 million.
Rogers was a stud in Minnesota. He was a stud in San Diego. The only time he hasn’t been a stud was for about a month last year in Milwuakee. Rogers hard hit rate and Whiff % were still good even in his down year, he was just shelled for a bit in a hitter friendly park. I think his home run rate there is an outlier and for once I’m buying low on a pitcher rather than buying high.
It isn’t hard to see a number of Trash Pandas making their way up to the bullpen this year. And that’s where I think the true turnaround in the bullpen starts. But to start the year, I want an anchor. A veteran who has been there and who should be able to rebound and close out the close games early in the season.
Sign Brad Boxberger 1 year $4.5 million.
I’ll take a second part of the Brewers bullpen here. Hopefully the salary is realistic. Boxberger will be 35 next season and doesn’t throw exceptionally hard. That should keep the cost down. But he has elite hard hit rates and guys rarely barrel the ball against him so I want him.
He’s likely a placeholder until Ben Joyce, Luke Murphy and the Panda brigade arrives, but with a good defense behind him, he should be reliable and affordable.
Total Spend: $41 million. I need to shave $1.6 million. If the judges will be nice, I’ll backload Anderson’s deal. If not, I’ll DFA Griffin Canning and hope Boxberger or another guy like him signs for $4 million or less.
So here’s that I have:
Lineup vs. Right Handed pitcher:
Lineup vs Left Handed Pitcher:
Christian Vasquez (1B)
Andrew Velasquez (good pinch runner and glove. If a starting infielder got injured, Newman would step in and Soto would be brought up).
Angels batters led the league in strikeouts last year and there were innings we could tell in advance would be 2 or 3 K’s. The Squid/Wade/Suzuki bottom of the order, for example. This not only takes away the opportunity to score, it allows pitchers to relax a bit and keeps the lineup from turning over; denying more at bats to the stars of the team.
In my case, with competent management, every spot in the lineup would be at league average or above with the big bats of Trout and Ohtani getting not only more at bats but more at bats with runners on base.
Defensively the team is solid all the way around. Taylor is a big pickup in that department as well as a 3 WAR improvement over Adell in the aggregate. Newman, Fletcher, and Rengifo are all good and Vasquez is a stud.
I think this team misses a “wow” factor and flies under the radar. It definitely depends on the health of Trout and Ohtani, but it also allows for both of them to take more breathers. Rendon can be eased in as and get rest as well. Depth will do that, keep guys fresh.
This team competes for a Wild Card which is the best that can be done under these restraints. Most importantly, we’ve held onto all our real prospects and don’t have any long term debt.