Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian has explicitly stated that the team — despite losing Shohei Ohtani to the L.A. Dodgers — is trying to win in 2024 instead of enter a rebuild. What Minasian hasn’t stated, though, is who the team’s free agent and trade targets are or what budget has been set by owner Arte Moreno.
Moreno, who at this time last year was teasing a sale of the team, is now back at the helm after taking the Angels off the market. He faces a difficult challenge trying to replace the production left behind by Ohtani, a two-time unanimous MVP. There remain a number of quality free agents, including San Diego Padres two-time Cy Young winner Blake Snell.
Snell has been tied to the Angels on several occasions this offseason, but is holding out for a contract in excess of $200 million. Moreno, who has never even given $100 million to a starting pitcher in his 21 years atop the Angels organization, is unlikely to meet that demand.
This is, in part, due to Moreno’s long-standing prefercne to spend on offense. An anonymous source spoke about that preference and why they feel it exists, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
One former Angels executive, granted anonymity so he can speak candidly, believes Moreno’s preference for offense stems from the playoff defeats the Angels suffered in the 2000s to slugging teams — three to the Red Sox, one to the Yankees.
This doesn’t mean that the Angels won’t eventually land a player like Snell, but it does mean that his market would need to take a dip before it becomes viable for Moreno to pull the trigger. As for offense, the Angels have been linked to bats like J.D. Martinez, but pursuing a designated hitter creates a different dilemma.
As for offense, the Angels are reluctant to enter the DH market, preferring to leave that spot open for Trout, Rendon and others. In particular, they need protection for Rendon, who has appeared in only 23 percent of the team’s games the past three seasons.
This puts the Angels in a unique position. They have an owner whose preference is to spend on offense, but are avoiding a traditional DH. This leaves them with not many open positions to spend on as the Angels have starting caliber players or logjams at nearly every position.
In an ideal world, this would lead the Angels back to the starting rotation, where they could feel comfortable spending more on a player like Snell or a couple more sturdy relief options. But it remains to be seen if Moreno is going to buck tradition for the 2024 iteration of the Angels.
Angels agree to terms with Sandoval
The Angels agreed to terms to avoid arbitration with four of their six eligible players, the most notable of which is starter Patrick Sandoval. Sandoval receives a relatively big pay bump from his first arbitration year to his second, nearly doubling his salary to $5.025 million.
The Angels alos agreed to terms with Luis Rengifo, Griffin Canning and José Quijada, leaving Taylor Ward and José Suarez to head to potential arbitration hearings.