The Los Angeles Angels pushed themselves past the luxury tax threshold at the MLB trade deadline in order to field a team capable of making one last postseason push. However, Perry Minasian’s moves quickly backfired, and after the worst month in franchise history — by run differential — they opted to waive players in an attempt to save money.
Lucas Giolito, Matt Moore, Reynaldo López, Hunter Renfroe and Dominic Leone were waived and claimed, saving the Angels almost enough money to get back below the luxury tax threshold. However, Randal Grichuk went unclaimed and returned to the Angels, meaning L.A. still sits slightly above.
For this year, the Angels will have a small tax bill. But the implications for Minasian loom much larger in 2024. Going over the tax in consecutive years carries with it increased penalties, going from 20% to 30%. The immediate question that comes from this is whether or not Arte Moreno would be willing to foot an increased tax bill to build a competitive roster next season.
As of now, it appears the answer is yes, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“We’ll get to that point when we start building the ’24 roster, but from the conversation I’ve had, there will be no impact (of paying the 2023 luxury tax),” Minasian said.
As it stands, the Angels have six guaranteed salaries on the books for 2024. Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Tyler Anderson, Brandon Drury, Max Stassi and Carlos Estévez will make a combined $110.9 million. Then, there are club options for Eduardo Escobar ($9 million) and Aaron Loup ($7.5 million).
The Angels also have a number of arbitration cases to sort out, making it difficult to project an exact payroll in September. But, theoretically, Angels will have plenty of wiggle room under the projected first luxury tax threshold of $237 million.
Moreno showed a willingness to surpass the tax in 2023. But given the results — and the potential loss of Shohei Ohtani in free agency — he may be hesitant to make that kind of move again.
Trout has not thought about Angels future
In keeping with a seemingly annual tradition, questions have begun swirling about Trout’s future with the Angels after what figures to be an eighth consecutive losing season. But Trout is not yet ready to speak publicly on his tenure in Anaheim.
He said he will talk to the Angels first regarding his future before he makes any type of public statement, rejecting the notion that a trade could be in the works.