The Los Angeles Angels finished out the 2023 season without as much on-field success as the franchise and its fans had hoped for, but a clean slate offseason provides them with an opportunity to go in a few directions.
With around $73.7 million projected salary space until they hit the competitive balance tax threshold of $237 million, the Angels have a fair amount of wiggle room to maneuver in free agency. Those numbers factor in projected arbitration.
But with Mike Trout still on the roster and a solid crop of young players on the big league roster, the incentive to push for a win-now mode is a solid option. The Texas Rangers proved how fast things can turnaround for a franchise, and the option to bring in useful pieces could be an avenue, per Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
The Angels have been aggressive in trading away prospects for Major League talent so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them do it again this offseason. The only prospects who are essentially untouchable are Nolan Schanuel, Nelson Rada and Caden Dana.
Trading away prospects doesn’t signal winning just for the now, because many teams have players on the final year of their current deals that could be contract-extension targets. One area could be in starting pitching, as the Angels could lose Shohei Ohtani in free agency, they might opt for a replacement arm via trade.
Having options in MLB under contract provides time to buffer those areas of need in the draft, international signings, and in this case, by dealing expendable prospect chips.
Case against the Angels trading prospects to win now
Besides the obvious in a lack of depth, resources, and talent at each level of their Minor League system, the Angels should simply refrain from making the same mistakes.
Sacrificing long-term assets for short-term gains is a method that the front office has tried to utilize for too long. The Angels traded away a few solid pieces in Ky Bush, Edgar Quero, among their big pieces moved this past season.
But the acquisition of Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López, C.J. Cron, Dominic Leone and Randal Grichuk proved to be a negative on the outcome of their season. The root of the move was admirable, but with where the Angels stood, it was reckless and overall, they’re not in a position to compete with the rest of MLB.
The Angels and general manager Perry Minasian have to abstain from catering to owner Arte Moreno and his method of bringing in the big name guys, and build from within. They’ve already shown that Neto, Schnauel, right-hander Chase Silseth, and other young players can contribute, but they’ll need time and more youthful help to succeed.
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