The Los Angeles Angels led by general manager Perry Minasian have been aggressive this offseason trying to upgrade their roster with the hopes of returning to the postseason.
The team signed All-Star starter Tyler Anderson and reliever Carlos Estévez while also making trades for slugging outfielder Hunter Renfroe and infielder Gio Urshela. In addition, the team is also looking for a shortstop upgrade and additional bullpen help.
While catcher is not the biggest need on their roster with Max Stassi and top prospect Logan O’Hoppe at the spot, they also made an effort to improve at the position. According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Angels made an offer to Willson Conteras:
The Cardinals outbid the Los Angeles Angels and the Houston Astros, the defending World Series champions who made a compelling offer to Contreras. Twice in the past six months the Astros have attempted to acquire Contreras.
Contreras ultimately agreed to a five-year deal worth a reported $87.5 million with the St. Louis Cardinals. The 30-year-old had played seven seasons with the Chicago Cubs and was the longest active tenured member of the organization when he became a free agent at the end of the 2022 season.
Over his seven-year Major League career, Contreras has appeared in 734 games, batting .256/.349/.459 with 117 home runs and 365 RBI. His on-base percentage ranks third among all primary catchers since arriving in the Major Leagues in 2016. Defensively, he ranks 2nd among all active Major League catchers with 25 pick-offs and has the most since 2016.
In 2022, Contreras played in 113 games, batting .243/.349/.466 with 22 home runs, 55 RBI and posted single-season career highs with 65 runs scored and 47 extra-base hits.
The native of Puerto Caballo, Venezuela, is a four-time postseason participant, playing in 30 games, and won a World Series in 2016. He was named as the starting catcher for the National League All-Star team in 2018, 2019 and 2022.
Although Contreras is primarily a catcher with 626 games there, he has appeared at five different positions, including 39 in the outfield, 11 at first base and two at third base. His 5,016 career innings at catcher rank 7th-most among MLB catchers from 2016-22.
Luxury tax not viewed as a hard cap for Angels
Even with an already busy offseason, the Angels will continue to be aggressive trying to improve their roster. But with a projected payroll north of $210 million, Minasian doesn’t view the approaching $233 million Collective Bargaining Tax Threshold as a hard cap.
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