The Los Angeles Angels lacked depth in a few areas this season, notably in the middle infield & outfield, as they had to dip into their minor league system for reinforcements. Another disappointing season filled with numerous injuries proved to be too much for manager Phil Nevin after his team finished 73-89, good for third in the American League West.
After losing David Fletcher to multiple stints on the injured list, the Angels were forced to rely on Luis Rengifo and Andrew Velazquez for the bulk of the season. Velazquez provided a very steady defensive presence up the middle, but his incredibly light hitting overshadowed his glove.
General manager Perry Minasian was impressed with Rengifo’s breakout backend of the season but recently said the Angels had some major retooling that needed to be done with the middle-infield and some other key spots as they head into free agency, via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
The Angels are likely to add help in the middle infield and outfield and could look for a corner infielder, especially considering their lack of depth there after Rendon’s injury and because first baseman Jared Walsh had a down year offensively. But it’s still unclear if the Angels will be able to make any big splashes this offseason, or if they’ll have to stick to short-term deals because of the expected change of ownership.
The murky situation is the obvious potential sale of the team and how Arte Moreno will handle that, which will certainly make Minasian’s job a tad bit more difficult as he noted the length of any deal might have to be on the shorter side. With the top-end talent looking for longer deals, that factor could limit their pool of players in which to attempt to bring in.
Per Spotrac projections with estimates for their active roster, arbitration, and pre-arbitration players, the Angels’ payroll could sit in the $170 million range.
A peak at Angels players up for arbitration
There are 30 players on the Angels’ 40-man roster that don’t have a set contract for the 2023 campaign. A strong majority of that group is pre-arbitration, meaning they will either be tendered a contract by the Angels or not.
But seven players will get their first glimpse at contract negotiations with an MLB team, as the Angels have that many players entering their first year of arbitration. Some names like Taylor Ward and Patrick Sandoval are due for big raises because of this.
Shohei Ohtani already received his arbitration bump when he agreed to a one-year, $30 million contract with the Angels in the final days of the 2022 regular season.
Meanwhile, Jared Walsh figures to have a fascinating negotiation after being an All-Star in 2021, but facing an injury-plagued down year in 2022. Then, there are players like Griffin Canning, who did not play in 2022 at all due to injury.