The Los Angeles Angels enter the 2021-22 offseason with some very pressing questions. The biggest of these is obviously surrounding their pitching, as it has been for several years now. However, they also have to do something about the shortstop position.
The Angels went into the 2021 season with Jose Iglesias as the team’s everyday shortstop. However, after a career-worst year from Iglesias as a batter and a fielder, they ultimately chose to release him and find a new path forward at the position. For the rest of the season, it was some combination of Luis Rengifo and Jack Mayfield.
The shortstop free agent market figures to be robust — perhaps the most loaded free agent class of any position — but Perry Minasian is unsure about the usefulness of allocating assets towards it. Instead, he may look towards Rengifo, or even David Fletcher, to fill that role, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“(Luis) Rengifo played a really solid shortstop in September, which was really encouraging,” Minasian said. “I think (David) Fletcher has the ability to slide over if we wanted him to. As good as he is at second, he’s very confident he could play a high-level shortstop too.”
“We can go out and make a free agent splash with one guy and ‘win the offseason’ to a certain extent, but there needs to be a lot of internal improvement too,” Minasian said.
Based on this alone, it doesn’t appear as though Minasian is going to spend any money to bring in free agent infielders. And despite the loaded free agent class of shortstops, this is an outcome fans have been waiting for.
Yes, the Angels could go out and sign Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Javier Baez, Marcus Semien, Trevor Story, or others to fill a middle infield spot, but it wouldn’t solve their issues.
Meanwhile, Fletcher is obviously a strong defender and could move over, while Rengifo actually played well in the final weeks of the season.
Perhaps the correct answer is somewhere in between just having an inconsistent Rengifo or going out and signing someone like Seager to a nine-figure deal. It will be up to Minasian to figure out the best balance of the money he’ll have available to him.
Jared Walsh describes 2021 season as dream come true
Angels first baseman Jared Walsh finally got to experience the ups and downs of a full MLB season, and it has only reinforced the franchise’s confidence in his abilities. After a remarkable first half, he went through his first real slump, only to break through it and have the best September of anyone on the Angels roster.