One rumor that has remained consistent about the Los Angeles Angels this offseason is general manager Perry Minasian’s reluctance to bring in a full-time designated hitter. With Shohei Ohtani gone, the Angels have a plan in place to use the DH spot as a means of getting Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout at-bats without risking injury in the field. But some top-tier DH options — like J.D. Martinez and Justin Turner — remain available.
Martinez had an incredible year with the L.A. Dodgers, getting a bounce-back to his normal self after a down 2022 campaign. He hit 33 home runs with 103 RBI, posting an .893 OPS and 134 OPS+ in 479 plate appearances. He was named an All-Star for the eighth time in his career.
Martinez replaced Justin Turner on the Dodgers, as the two swapped teams with Turner heading to the Boston Red Sox last offseason. In 626 plate appearances, Turner posted an .800 OPS and 114 OPS+ with 23 home runs and 96 RBI. It was his 10th consecutive season of having an OPS+ above 110.
And while the Angels would still love the flexibility that comes with an open DH spot for their injury-prone stars, perhaps Minasian could be swayed by one of those two talents, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
Center fielder Mike Trout and third baseman Anthony Rendon have been frequently injured in recent seasons, so the Angels are reluctant to tie up the DH spot when it looms as a safety net for both players. On the other hand, the Angels also lost 44 home runs after Ohtani signed with the Dodgers.
General manager Perry Minasian, who reached agreement Friday with reliever Robert Stephenson on a three-year, $33 million deal, continues to pursue upgrades of all kinds. If Minasian can land a big enough bat — Martinez, or maybe Turner — he might decide it’s worth losing his safety net.
Having either player enter the fold means another potential .800 OPS guy or better in the lineup next to Trout. While it’s not what Ohtani brought to the DH spot, it’s better than nothing. It’s a tricky decision for Minasian, who has to weigh landing a star bat versus allowing Trout and Rendon more games with a lower injury risk.
Arte Moreno continuing preference to spend on bats for Angels
Angels owner Arte Moreno has a long-standing preference to spend on offense. An anonymous source spoke about that preference and why they feel it exists, and how it could come into play here:
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.