The Angels will sport a nice starting nine and a nice rotation to start the year. If everyone is healthy and producing at their normal levels, this team will be fun to watch.
One problem, though, is that no team is ever fully healthy with everyone producing at normal levels. Guys get hurt. Somebody will have a breakout year we didn’t see coming and somebody will have the worst year of their career. That’s the inherent uncertainty with baseball.
The difference between winning teams and those watching TV in October is usually the ability to handle the inevitable injuries and down years. Perry Minasian seems to have realized that and has openly stated he wants to “thicken the roster” and create depth.
Here are some options to create that depth that would come with short contracts and keep the team below the luxury tax threshold.
Uncertainty: the health of Jared Walsh and outfield depth.
Solution: Sign Wil Myers.
At best, Jared Walsh is a great defender who crushes right handed pitching but struggles against lefties. Considering he’s coming off thoracic outlet surgery we have no idea if he’s going to be at his best. At best, Taylor Ward and Hunter Renfroe are plus bats with OK defense. The problem is there’s nobody behind them.
Signing Myers immediately gives the Angels a platoon bat for Walsh in case he’s healthy. A career .255/.351/.453 line against southpaws is a huge jump for the Angels lineup and a nice pinch hitter to have on the bench. If Walsh really is toast, Myers is perfectly capable of being an average MLB bat and defender. He can also spell Ward in left adequately, allowing Ward to take days off and to spell Renfroe in right, keeping both guys fresh.
In short, signing Myers gives the Angels depth on both the grass and infield. In a given week, he’d probably play 1-2 days on the grass, another day or two at first, and get a DH day. And if there’s an injury, he’s a starter.
Uncertainty: the heath of Jared Walsh and catching depth.
Solution: sign Christian Vasquez.
Take all the stuff about Walsh above but also add in Max Stassi, who will turn 32 right around Opening Day and is coming off an absolutely horrendous season. Perhaps he just had his bad year, perhaps he’s toast. We’ll know in a few months but by then it might be too late.
Christian Vasquez is a stud. He’s also 32 but without the concussion history of Stassi. Vasquez also has some experience at first and as a DH. His line vs. lefties is .257/.309/.422 which is shy of Myers but still solid.
Does this block top prospect Logan O’hoppe? Not really. In the best of times it takes three catchers to get through a full season. If Vasquez is spending decent time at first and/or Stassi sucks again, O’hoppe plays a big role. If not, he’s a perfect piece to bring up when needed and save that service clock.
Uncertainty: shortstop, the health of Anthony Rendon, and the health of Jared Walsh.
Solution: sign Jean Segura.
Let me state the obvious, Jean Segura is no longer a shortstop. Also at age 32, Segura is a quality second baseman with a slightly above average bat. He’d also be about the only certainty in a very uncertain infield.
Gio Urshela provides good protection if one of Rendon or Walsh is hurt or toast. But there’s a decent shot both will need help. And even in the best of times, guys need days off.
By plugging Segura into second base 5 days a week, the Angels can mix and match Fletcher, Rengifo, and Urshela around the diamond. Also, thanks to the flexibility of those three, Segura should be able to get a couple of days off each week to stay fresh.
Is this a true shortstop signing? Obviously not. But it would give the Angels three decent options for one spot with the other two guys as depth. That’s depth.
Uncertainty: how the rotation will work.
Solution: Sign Seth Lugo or Michael Lorenzen.
The Angels are committing to pitching Ohtani every 6th day, meaning a sixth starter won’t be needed on a regular basis. In fact, some months might only have 1 or 2 starts for the sixth man. It would be a waste of roster space to have that sixth starter be a truly dedicated starter.
Enter Seth Lugo. Or, if you’d like bring back Michael Lorenzen. Each of these guys has extensive bullpen experience and some track record of starting. We’re looking for about 80-100 innings here, not much more, and each has the ability to do so.
Imagine having Lugo come in with lefty junk for 2-3 innings after Ohtani has thrown heat. Or perhaps Lorenzen’s heat after 5 innings of Suarez from the left side. That would limit the exposure and innings for the single inning guys while giving Lugo or Lorenzen enough work to be ready for 5 innings or so for their rare starts.
While I like these fits at the MLB level, the fact they keep Silseth in AAA as first man up is a nice bonus. When a rotation stalwart has an injury, management has options.
Uncertainty: who can spell Trout and OF defense in general.
Solution: Sign Raimel Tapia.
Guys on the roster who are technically capable of playing center field: Ward, Jo Adell, and Mickey Moniak. And there is nobody in AAA.
Tapia will turn 29 and is a burner with a good glove in center field. He’s about 10% worse than MLB average with the bat, which makes him leaps and bounds better than Adell or Moniak to this point in their careers.
Plus, let’s not pretend the routes of Ward and Renfroe are things of beauty. Tapia would be a great defensive replacement late in games and could use his speed as a pinch runner. All while Adell gets a chance to play a season in AAA and either force his way up or drop completely off the radar.
Bonus: Renfroe can cover first a bit to spell Walsh or be a platoon partner.
I’ll look into some trades later this week, but with the free agent market going bonkers this year I’m not all that thrilled with the simulator. Ahmed Rosario was well in reach before Xander and Turner landed 11 year deals. His price has to have skyrocketed.
However, any of these deals adds significant depth to a roster that has no reinforcements. Any combination of the two would be huge. Myers and Vasquez are a bit redundant but all others can be mixed and matched for great depth with minimal long term cost. Give me Myers, Segura, and Lugo and I’m stoked. Give me Vasquez, Tapia and Lorenzen and I’m happy.
Which is your favorite individual move? Favorite combination? And who did I miss?
Wellllll… we have a full 40 man… so part of the fun with these six guys is matching them up with who you cut from our roster.
Your answer awaits you below….
Jeff, I like the Segura idea if we can’t finesse our way to a more prominent SS. But I’m biased, as I’ve always liked him and hated Dipoto with that one move alone. I do love Segura’s ability to go deep in counts and put the ball in play. You could plug him in the top or bottom and he’s formidable.
I got a ball signed by Segura in spring training the March before he was traded. I was bummed.
Wanted him back ever since then.
I was a big propoent on this site for Segura 2-years ago, now, not so much. Does not play the 5 anymore. Can play in a pinch but has been settled in as a 2nd babsemen for some time. The arm gets used to those throws. Offense has been dropping. However, good depth piece.
Jeff, I enjoy your thoughts. But you have the Angels signing a guy that made $22 million last year to be a depth guy. You then have us signing another guy that made $17 million to be another depth guy. Vasquez signed with the Twins.
Lorenzen may be ok. That’s all I see in terms of what might actually happen with these players.
Myers being overpaid last year has no bearing on his contract for next year. He’s a 1-2 WAR guy and will be paid like it.
Segura is projected at 2/20.
Vasquez got $10 million per year.
The others will be much less, particularly Tapia and Lorenzen.
We’re $21 million under the threshold.
Jeff – thanks again for your analysis. Respectfully, I think this is wishful/magic thinking. But who knows – maybe. I just don’t see Arte authorizing 10s of millions for depth.
I do. As long as they’re short term commitments I could see going over the salary cap on his way out the door the same way he came into the league almost 20 years ago.
I find it difficult to believe that Arte gives a damn whether or not the team wins after he has sold it. My presumption is that every move and decision is geared towards maximizing the value of the team for sale purposes. I just don’t see how spending money on depth pieces improves that narrative or helps to achieve that goal. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he really does want to sell the team and then have the team do well and compete for a championship. But I just don’t think so.
Then how to you explain the fact that the team now has the highest payroll in its history which is the 5th highest payroll in the major Leagues right now despite all of the raging drunken sailors on shore leave this offseason? That doesn’t sound like a guy who’s already checked out and just counting his billions.
Perry is obviously trying to save his job and apparently Arte mind him adding payroll to do it as long as the payroll liability beyond this upcoming season doesn’t increase appreciably than what it is now.
If you are asking my opinion- I think Arte is doing enough to sell season tickets and/or to convince season ticket holders to keep their tickets. Season ticket sales is a metric to determine team value. So – as always – I think Arte does what he does to advance his business interests. My opinion- it’s okay if you don’t agree.
At the Angels’ current level, Roster resource has the CBT calculated payroll at $212.5 million (up $6 million from last year) with $20.5 million left to spend before incurring a tax ( first time offender tax rate would be 20% of the overage up to $20 million)
The GM speak I’m hearing from Perry seems to actually be saying “I’ve got more to spend and I plan on spending it when the right deal I’m working on comes around” versus the ole “We’ll see” response or only “if the right deal comes around will I add a player” (translation I have to trade a contract first)
So based upon your opinion where do you think the payroll ends up? I’m curious if you think we are done or is there anything left in the tank?
My personal opinion is that for the time being, we will see some minor moves similar to what we saw today.
I think the FA market has changed in the last couple weeks. The deals have been crazy. Perry did a good job getting in early.
My guess would be that now that prices have skyrocketed, Arte will be unwilling to chase the market upward. Maybe as things settle and the season gets closer, there may be an opportunity to sign some of the remaining players who are still on the board for a fair price. If so, I could see Arte approve another $10 mill or so.
All of this is to say I doubt there will be any meaningful signings until we get closer to the season. And if the team is getting close to sale at that point, that could be a variable where the new owner has a say in things. So there is a fair amount of uncertainty right now which makes it harder to predict.
I think this is a reasonable take. It isn’t what I want, but I think this is what will happen.
A signing like this is the biggest I can see. And likely only one.
So how do you explain the rumors we were finalists in the Wilson Contreras free agent pursuit? We had to be offering more than $10 million
I personally believe that the Contreras story may have been a BS “feed”. I don’t know why I think that but I think it’s a possibility. It happens and it would be very easy to float that information – and doing so would have the impact of making it seem like the team was intent on chasing a championship (with a payroll to match) which has the effect of…..selling tickets and:or retaining season ticket holders.
Another potential is that the offer was made but the team knew it would not be accepted and also knowing that they (the Angels) would not increase the bid. That would have the same effect of giving the perception of intending to spend and compete – which sells/retains season tickets. GMs talk to each other so it’s not a stretch to say that Perry knew the market and bid enough to look serious but not enough to actually compete for the player.
A third option would be that the offer was made and, when it was not accepted and a higher offer had been extended, the team realized the FA market had gotten away from them. That easily could result in a change of strategy to wait-and-see.
To me, any of these are a possibility under the circumstances and this forms my above opinion which I am the first to say could be wrong.
But why even make a bid even it was just for show on a position that is not necessarily considered a position of need? Seems like a complete waste of energy.
I would agree with you if we were getting the similar rumors on the Big 4 but there has been essentially radio silence from an Angels perspective on any of the free agent shortstops
Just my opinion. But I’m pretty jaded on this organization.
Ha. Ha. Well. You’re not alone.
All of them, absolutely not. But if he’s good adding another $15-20 million that someone else will pay we could do a couple.
If we sign Correa, that also provides depth
Justin garza now an Angel-there’s more depth for ya…..;0)
I mean, realistically, this is the kind of ‘depth’ we should expect. It comes from the middle to bottom of the dumpster and therefore is technically ‘depth’.
What are the chances that Garza contributes anything of substance in 2023 ?
So we exchanged Rosenberg for Garza BFD. Whats interesting is we are running out of seat fillers on our 40 man roster which is actually a good thing in developing depth. Perry needs to make the next moves count since any meaningful pickups will take a 40 man spot.Here are the remaining DFA candidates:
No Brainer Level
Out of Options But I’ll get over it Level
A lot less to choose from than at the end of last season but if we replace 3 to 4 of these guys with free agents or trade acquisitions in the next few weeks there wont be very much to jettison at the end of spring training for impressive NRI’s and emerging Rocket City bullpen arms.of course any major injuries can move to the 60 IL at that time .
This could be a good problem to have.
We could go from a franchise who grabs other teams castoffs to one that loses players we cast off.
Been a long, long time.
I would start the DFA list with Davidson.
As for 2023 salaries vs whatever they got in 2022, consider Thor’s $23 mil. There’s no way he’ll get that in his new contract. Jeff is right, Myers won’t cost what he did previously
And they DFA’ed Kenny Rosenberg to make room. Just as well, I hear he needed more time to practice for his Bar Mitzvah.
Edging on an inappropriate comment in my opinion. Why does his being Jewish have any relevance?
We need more inappropriateness in this messed up time. I took it as he’s young and not proven depth with 10 innings under his belt. He didn’t say anything derogatory other than making a 99% likely assumption about the ethnicity of the name Rosenberg. Now, if he had asked if he would negotiate for himself in his arb years, that might have been inappropriate.
And I consider the negotiating skill as a genuine compliment, although I guess it’s not taken that way.
Disclaimer: I’m Jewish…
To be honest, the name “Kenny Rosenberg” just sounds like a 13 year old kid.
Editors, please feel free to delete my original comment.
I used to joke that the Bears QB Rex Grossman sounded like a dentist.
It’s a joke in good fun.
I’m not deleting it. Had it been derogatory in nature that would be a different story.
Posted an hour before Vasquez was off the board.
I can’t really complain about any of these choices and I’m actually warming up to bringing Segura back home to be part of the 2B/SS mix. But I can’t let the sun start to set without my daily Joey Gallo plug. I think he would be a more economical version of Wil Myers and provide stellar outfield defense at all three positions. According to the Fielding Bible, Myers has generated a total of -5 defensive runs saved in 1,856 innings over the last 3 seasons while Gallo has actually generated an astounding +32 DRS in 2,534 innings in the same period of time.
I knew I was forgetting somebody when I typed this.
Gallo’s K rate scares me but I love the ability to cover all three positions.
Have you seen Dansby Swansons? He’d fit right in here.
Abut a quarter of the time. Which is about half of Gallo’s.
I’ve never pined for Swanson. I though he’d be the lowest costing of the 4 but also the least appealing.
Xander can move to third
Turner has already played CF and can move there.
Correa is simply a better player.
Swanson is a good glove, an OK bat, and a decent health risk. Not worth a huge deal.
With Vazquez gone do we have any interest in Travis D’arnaud in a trade with PTPs old boss?
I’ve done zero research on this, but theoretically, shouldn’t the banning of the shift massively help Gallo’s batting average? If I remember correctly, he was a major victim to the shift’s increase in usage.
One would think smart front office’s are taking that rule change into account and finding pull hitters who should benefit.