The Los Angeles Angels have spent most of the offseason in wait and see mode. Arte Moreno has committed some money to relief pitching in the form of Robert Stephenson, Adam Cimber, Matt Moore and Luis Garcia, but has remained somewhat dormant in other departments. Starting pitching being perhaps the quietest, where he has only agreed to a deal with Zach Plesac, who could eventually transition to the bullpen as well.
This is nothing new for Moreno’s Angels, though, as he has historically been unwilling to spend on starting pitching. Moreno has never spent $100 million on a starting pitcher in his 21-year career at the helm of the Angels. This offseason presents a few opportunities to do so, most notably with National League Cy Young winner Blake Snell.
And there is starting to be a league-wide belief that this is the offseason where things change for the Angels and Moreno, and that he may be willing to buck trends from his past, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
“Traditionally, Arte Moreno has not spent on starting pitching. That’s the one thing they have not done in a big way. I think CJ Wilson is their biggest free agent signing and Jered Weaver is their biggest overall signing from a starting pitching standpoint. But they are looking. And they are going to do more things, I’m convinced of it. It’s just a matter of what. They need one more starter, a veteran guy to kind of stabilize things. They’ve got some interesting younger pitchers, they need more.”
Snell has been tied to the Angels for much of the offseason. Most recently, reports stated that Snell may simply fall into the Angels’ laps with a lack of suitors willing to pay Snell’s $200 million asking price. Snell would bring a stable presence to an Angels rotation in desperate need of it with Shohei Ohtani out the door.
Moreno — if he changes his attitude towards big-time starters — may have a golden opportunity to keep L.A. afloat in the first post-Ohtani season.
Angels may be willing to sign top-end DH
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.
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:
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.