The Master Plan

We are in the heart of our off season series where we pretend to be Perry Minasian. What makes these pieces relatively easy to do is the fact we know the real Perry Minasian is ordered to try to compete each year.

But what if he wasn’t? What if the Angels had an owner and front office that realized it is sometimes better, often needed, to take a step backwards to take two steps forward. What would a comprehensive plan that would create a competitive window similar to the one the Angels experienced from 2002 to 2009 or a little beyond look like?

Well, a little between our Perry pieces and my Slash and Burn piece with plenty of Let the Kids Play! and some Turning Japanese. This the final version of my off season plan pieces and the one I really like best.

There is definitely room on the roster to add players who will be hitting their peaks in 2 to 3 years. But the heavy lifting should be done in acquiring more young talent and giving that talent top notch facilities in which to thrive.

Let’s get the pain out of the way.

Out goes the face of the franchise and a beloved Angel but in comes a talented 23 year old pitcher who projects as a 2 at best and mid rotation arm in all likelihood and a young, strong corner infielder who is a good 3 years away from the show.

Most importantly, this saves the franchise $148.2 million on the Trout contract. No need to spend it on payroll just yet but a good $50 million could be used to upgrade the back fields and training facilities in Tempe from the Cactus League’s worst to something befitting a big market club.

Now it is time to get really focus on 2026 and beyond, starting with sending two players with 2 years of control out for players with full control.

The Dodgers will be competing for World Series titles for the next two years and have needs in left field and around the diamond. Ward solves left field while Rengifo allows Dave Roberts to play Mookie Betts in right. For the Angels this is quite a haul. Andy Pages has tasted MLB life and has 6 years of club control. He gets to mature with our young nucleus. Maddux Bruns has wicked stuff and is likely a shutdown reliever but if he gets some control could be a top of the rotation arm. River Ryan has 4 plus pitches but not a ton of experience on the mound, which also means not a lot of mileage. I’m not sure if he sticks as a starter or reliver, perhaps he’s a bit of both. At age 25, he’s also the oldest player I acquire in this trade.

I do still need to field an MLB team and I want one that will be elite in a couple of years. Meanwhile, if the Brewers keep Burnes and decide to make another playoff run, they need cheap pitching depth.

Milwaukee has a plethora of outfielders and bullpen arms. Here I poach Orange native Garrett Mitchell to be the centerfielder of the future and Joel Payamps to plug into the bullpen. Mitchell is 25 and a well rounded player, he should be a stalwart of the next competitive team. Payamps is 30 and likely trade bait at the deadline unless this group of youngsters surprises everyone and is in the playoff hunt. Canning was a nice story in 2023 but he only has 2 years of club control remaining and Kochanowicz is the type of hard thrower the Brewers love to develop.

These are two players with drastically different profiles. Encarnacion-Strand can hit, but can he play defense? Probably well enough to get into a few games at the corners and DH. At age 23 he can improve defensively and is already at the MLB level. Arroyo is a wiz with the glove, only 19 years old, and will be a stud if he can get to a 90ish wRC+.

So at this point there’s been a lot of tearing down, but not much in the way of filling out the MLB club. Here’s where the plan gets fun.

Sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto 9 years $250 million with opt out after 3 years.

We have to overpay here and give Yamamoto an opt out after 3 years. This means if the club isn’t on the upswing after three years he can hit the free agent market at 28 years old with MLB experience. I structure this so Yamamoto gets $70 million over the first three years and 6 straight years of $30 million if he stays, and I want him to stay.

Sign Jung-hoo Lee 5 years $50 million

Lee doesn’t have the same amount of leverage as Yamamoto so I just use the projections. He’s 25, a lefty, capable of playing center or right, and a high contact machine. He’s a big part of the next contention window.

At this point I have three outfielders who are 25 years old in Mitchell, Moniak, and Lee and one who is 22 in Pages. I likely manipulate Pages service team, errr get him some seasoning in AAA, and play Adell as the fourth outfielder. Jo has absolutely no trade value so he gets to audition at the MLB level until the minute I get an extra year of club control over Pages.

I’ve also shipped out two pitchers while only bringing one in. I’d like to see what Silseth can do on a consistent basis but do need some depth. I’ll look at no deal longer than 2 years, so Jack Flaherty for 2 years at $20 million and Wade Miley for a year and $8 million would do.

Here’s what 2024 would look like:

Rotation: Yamamoto, Detmers, Anderson, Flaherty, Miley, with Silseth, Abel, and Davis Daniel in AAA.

Outfield: Moniak, Mitchell, Lee, Adell with Pages getting, umm, seasoned in AAA.

Bullpen: Esteves, Payamps, Soriano, Joyce, Wantz, Herget, Suarez, Bachman

Infield: Rendon, Neto, Drury, Schanuel with Encarnacion-Strand and David Fletcher on the bench

Catcher: O’Hoppe, Thaiss. I’m not sure if Stassi comes back.

This leaves me one roster spot open on the 26 man. I could add a bullpen arm or stick with a six man rotation to accommodate Yamamoto. Or I could find a cheap veteran bat to slide into the DH role as the off season winds down. Whatever it is will be a bargain play.

What I have is a very young position group with plenty of talent on the way to supplement it in 2 years. I also have a group capable of getting hot and surprising some people.

Additionally, I have the financial flexibility to extend the players I like and replace the ones I don’t. Esteves has one year left and is likely trade bait at the deadline. Anderson and Fletcher have 2 years remaining. Rendon’s anchor is the longest term deal being carried over and is done after 3.

Oh, and a shiny new Spring Training facility to get these guys ready to play. Yes, this is a step back, but definitely not a full scale teardown. With a little player development (hey, I have money for that) and a couple of decent drafts I should have the makings of a very dangerous team emerging right as the Astros start to really age. And the financial wherewithal to supplement that squad with whatever is needed to chase another banner.

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HalosFanForLife
Trusted Member
7 months ago

This is so well done Jeff and well thought out. I just could not pull the trigger because I think to compete we’d have to try some big contracts again and likely back where we started. I think if we played all our cards right, and all the stars aligned, we simply are too far behind Houston and Texas. Funny things do happen, but we are struggling for a wild card if all goes well in my opinion. But, the competitive side of me says, let’s go play. Teams that were not expected to even compete have won it all. I took a fun stab at a going-for-it strategy – but the likelihood of pulling it off and for it to work is slim to none.

FungoAle
Legend
7 months ago

BAM…JJ going nuclear. Great plan, sold. I’m still having a very hard time envisioning a Japanese wanting to come into a clubhouse with a waft of Ohtani exiting. If it happens, fine. I would love to see what Lee could do but so long as Trout is on the team, doubt the Angels go there. Wait, you took care of that, priceless.

While I am not up to speed on the players coming back in the trades, I embrace getting rid of the Angels that you did. Big thumbs up to move off of Trout. Yes, let’s move off of Stassi, sign a 1-yr veteran to be O’Hoppe’s mentor.

Let’s do this…

Fansince1971
Legend
7 months ago

I can get behind this. I’d rather suck with young players getting better than suck with underachieving or injured superstars.

Last edited 7 months ago by Fansince1971
gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend

I Love this plan. It is like my IIWPM but better because you got rid of Trout for Painter and I have wanted Painter since his draft.

I also really like Jung Hoo Lee. I’d like to have him more than Yamamoto. I’d really like to see the Angels have a lot of contact hitters. If we had Lee, and Shamwow develops into a .300+ hitter, and we got a couple more guys with good “bat to ball skills” we’d enjoy watching games a lot more than the hope for home runs strategy.

I think this would be a lot of fun to watch. Watching this team develop. I also want to take some time and see if any of “the pitching draft” arms start being useful and Neto/Schanuel/Adell can catch on. The team’s already in the pits, might as well see if they can get some young fire going.

Adding as many young brands to that fire as possible would be great in my book.

I also don’t really buy the “Japanese players want their own scene” deal. I think Yamamoto is out of reach, but if I were an Arte, when I’m not out there spreading evil like butter on toast and doing things with the express purpose of making CtPG Guy feel ignored and under valued, I’d go out to all the agents and outlets I can in Japan/Korea and make a case for the Heim.

Something like “Large Asian community. Less trashy people than LA. Close to Asia. Plenty of money and exposure. Bring family and friends over to Disney and the beach. Blond women. We want to be the home of Asian Baseball in America.” Then get after signing as many useful Asian pitchers and position guys as we can. Encourage the players, fanbase, etc to embrace an Asian flavor to the team’s character. Make adjustments to the org to make the transition to America/Angels easier. Send reps over to get to know Japanese amateur players….

You won’t get the next Shohei most likely, but if the team ends up with a few Kenta Maedas, a couple He Song Kims, a Sin Soo Choo…. I’d be down for that. I think Asian players may like the idea of coming together on an American team and trying to win championships. Why not shoot for being that team?

FungoAle
Legend
7 months ago

Frame this post and autograph it…keeper.

Angelstan
Trusted Member
7 months ago

Wow. You definitely have burned everything to the ground. For a year or two, the team might rival the A’s. Most unusual. What level of confidence exists after being one of the worst franchises in the league for two years that they can turn it around? That’s the key obviously.

Senator_John_Blutarsky
Legend
7 months ago
Reply to  Angelstan

We’re already one of the worst franchises in MLB and that’s WITH Saint Michael and Saint Shohei on the roster.

“If you’re not first, you’re last”
(TM, Ricky Bobby, Inc. used with permission)

Last edited 7 months ago by Senator_John_Blutarsky
Angelstan
Trusted Member
7 months ago

I guess the Angels have been last every year except 2002 then. BTW while the “what if” plans as to being the GM are fantasy, I didn’t think the entire notion was supposed to be a fantasy. These plans are talking about alienating the entire fan base, being a bottom dweller, and hopefully being able to come back to contention after a few years. My natural question was how confident can one be after tanking for years that getting back into contention will happen. Because from what I have seen, the chances aren’t high.

Roy Hobbs
Super Member
7 months ago

It doesn’t sell tickets right away but it positions us well for the future. We don’t have much in the minors right now and this is a lot faster and a higher percentage for success than drafting. Plus we don’t have to tank to improve.

Angelz4ever
Super Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Roy Hobbs

Many fans don’t realize that signing a FA allows some younger players to have more opportunity to develop instead of getting rushed to the bigs.

Roy Hobbs
Super Member
7 months ago

I like this. It sets us up going forward for 25 and beyond. We may even be a better club in 24 than any of the other more likely options.

2GA2Join
Super Member
7 months ago

I kept waiting to read where you trade Drury (and Esty too I guess) but was surprised you kept them, but I do see you mention trading Esty at the deadline.

2GA2Join
Super Member
7 months ago
Reply to  2GA2Join

Overall I thought it was well thought out and a good job.
You went all Oakland on us! (I kind of see this is the sort of thing Oakland does every few years). The key to success is how good the acquired youngsters turn out to be.
For quite a while, Oakland kept hitting the jackpot on its young returns.
But I think they’ve stalled recently, because the returns that they got in their most recent reset haven’t met expectations.

Roy Hobbs
Super Member
7 months ago
Reply to  2GA2Join

Except that Oakland wouldn’t sign Yamamoto and Lee which I think are significant additions that we’ll have for the foreseeable future. We might be short a player or 2 but would be in a position to make those additions for 25.

2GA2Join
Super Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

OK, I understand your thinking.
I was just figuring that Drury has a pretty high value right now and since we aren’t “competing” this year and he’s on a 1 year contract, let’s cash in on his value.

Angelz4ever
Super Member
7 months ago

Now we get to see the Master Plan!