If our dreams are small enough.
The team’s being sold. It’s what you want. No major change comes without inconveniences. This off season is such a bugaboo. You’re gonna get a new owner, you don’t get a bunch of shiny new players, nor do you get to demand a champion, while that process happens. This here is a chicken fried steak off season. But with the right gravy CFS can be delicious, and that’s what I went for. A delicious gravy of generally above average production with the chance to win if Trout and the other two big stars do their jobs.
NOTE: All names are linked to their Bref page.
THE POSITIONAL ROSTER
THE MOVE: Sign Adam Duvall for 3.5 (+3.5mil)
1B – Jared Walsh (LF,RF)
2B – David Fletcher (SS,3B,LF)
3B – Anthony Rendon
SS – Gio Urshela (3B,1B,LF)
RF – Taylor Ward (LF)
CF- Mike Trout (LF)
LF – Jo Adell (CF)
C- Max Stassi
DH – Shohei Ohtani
C – Matt Thaiss (1B)
UTL – Luis Rengifo (2B,SS,3B,LF)
UTL – Adam Duvall (OF, 1B, DH)
AAA Depth about to get called up Luis Soto (IF) Logan O’Hoppe(C) Mickey Moniak (OF)
First, the burning question regarding the side detail every sadboy seems to need to focus on. Why did I choose one semi-good infielder over another to start? I just chose Fletcher because I’d rather hang out with him. If he sucks ass this spring he goes to the bench, Rengifo starts for him, and dozens of old white men make excuses for him.
As has been covered, if Rendon goes down, Fletcher/Urshela/Rengifo become our infield mix with Walsh/Duvall/Urshela at 1B. If Adell doesn’t pull it together Duvall takes his spot and Moniak becomes the defensive OF with Adell in SLC. If Thaiss fails he’s cut. If Stassi fails he sucks. O’Hoppe comes up. Duvall and Urshela can platoon against lefties for Walsh. If Ohtani is hurt these UTLs at least allow for some offensive coverage at DH.
THE MOVE: Sign Michael Lorenzen. 2/14 million. (+7mil)
Ohtani’s the obvious ace here. I think Sandoval’s not an ace but is well on his way to being a solid #2 with a contract extension. After that we have a bunch of guys who may not dominate but will also likely not give up bags of runs very often. I actually think Detmers and Lorenzen have wild card potential and either may blow up into fairly good starters on a level with Sandoval. We have few guys in AA/AAA this year who will be able to spot start and maybe even replace a long term injury after the first few weeks. Unfortunately we may lose Tucker Davidson.
So, let’s talk about the bullpen. The spot I can never guess who will actually do well in. In what is apparently going to be a lifelong battle to pick some good relief pitchers for a season, in 2023 I am going to try to solve the “Loup Problem”.
I wanted Loup last off season. I was happy to get Loup. Contrary to the wank, the Angels did not sign Aaron Loup to a contract based on his career year in 2021. They signed him to a contract that a generally effective lefty reliever gets, not a closer, etc. BUT he sucked. Even with a pretty solid track record, he sucked. But what really chaps me is that, while his WHIP and ERA+ dipped, they were still good, far better than we all saw Loup to actually be last year. So WTF? What should we look for in a relief arm other than being very successful for years and years? You know, like Raisel Iglesias.
Well. First, as PTP, I would like to avoid spending on the pen at all in the future.
Second, I think I am going to strive for an “above average” pen. How will I look for this white buffalo? I am going to try looking at RAA (Runs Above Average) and RAR (Runs Above Replacement Level) to avoid some of the squirreliness that comes with reliever stats. For example, Loups WHIP and ERA+ may have been OK last year, his RAA of -10 and RAR of -5 is what we saw with our eyeballs.
To this point we have a bunch of guys like Murphy, Joyce, Torres etc in the high minors looking ready to go soon. It’s also why I signed Tepera, Loup and Iglesias in the past, as a bridge to move towards eventually having a cheap pen with a little time under their belt. I am stuck with Loup and Tepera, at least for now. What else do I have to start with? I’ll put their lifetime and last season’s RAA/RAR next to their names.
Sign Tommy Kahnle (2/8) (+4mil)
Sign Brad Boxberger(1/3) (+3mil)
Tommy Kahnle (0,27)(2,3)
Brad Boxberger (10,54)(4,10)
Jimmy Herget (14/25)(13,19)
Ryan Tepera (21/57)(2,6)
Andrew Wantz (3,10)(4,9)
Aaron Loup (24/72)(-10,-5)
Jaime Barria (29,67(12,19)
Jose Quijada (-4,5)(2,6)
Kahnle, Herget, Boxberger and Quijada handle most of the leverage. None of these guys are making so much money that, by the end of June, they can’t be cut in favor of C Rod, Murphy, etc etc. Deep secret…. I want them to try to stretch out C Rod in the minors while he seasons.
So in total PTP and I spent
13 on Anderson
8(?) on Urshela
4 on Kahle
3 on Boxberger
7 on Lorenzen
3.5 on Duvall
Total: 38.5 Millions. Fk. I’m 100K over.
None of these moves really light the world on fire or move the needle or whatever term needy fans use for spending money. The thing is, all of the trades I looked at left holes that then needed to be filled, usually with spending I can’t do. I also didn’t have the cash to make any splashy moves and cutting players like Walsh to gain funds to make a splashier signing didn’t seem likely to yield me much more certainty than hoping Walsh heals up.
As is always the case, this roster pretty much depends on Trout, Rendon and Ohtani doing well. Fletcher, Walsh and Stassi returning to form will not hurt either. If that happens I think the teams depth in both pitching and hitting is much stronger than past years and will perform like a Toyota if not a Porsche.