The Los Angeles Angels came into the 2021-22 offseason with a public declaration of their biggest need. General manager Perry Minasian left nothing up for debate when he said that “pitching, pitching, and more pitching” would be the team’s top focus.
In the month before the lockout, the Angels definitely made good on that, signing Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Loup, Michael Lorenzen, and bringing back Raisel Iglesias. However, they’ve yet to land the star pitcher that they had been hoping to when the offseason began.
So when the lockout ends and signings resume, will the Angels focus still on pitching (they’d likely have to trade for one now instead of signing one), or will they turn their attentions to another need. Currently, the 2022 roster has a gaping hole at shortstop, and there are still two superstar shortstops to be had.
Carlos Correa and Trevor Story opted to take their free agency into the lockout. The Texas Rangers got their guys in Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, and the Detroit Tigers found their man in Javier Baez. Now, Correa and Story must wait to find their home.
The Angels have yet to be legitimately connected to either of these players, but they were ranked a five-star fit for both Correa and Story by Bradford Doolittle of ESPN:
With so much money going long term to Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon, and the looming need to sign Shohei Ohtani to a similar deal growing more acute, the long-term version of a Correa contract might be too much, especially as the Angels still need to add more pitching. But a shorter-term deal might work, either for him or Story, and the Angels should be willing to go big on a contract of that duration to fill a glaring need on their roster. If they can pull that off, Ohtani would surely approve, and that might be the most important factor of all.
This segment appears purely speculative with no legitimate rumor to be found. However, it paints a fairly reasonable argument. The Angels need a shortstop next season badly, even if the top focus remains pitching.
Given the long-term commitments to Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and eventually Ohtani, a 10-year deal like the one Seager got from the Rangers is probably out of the question. It also most likely takes Correa out of the question too.
But would the Angels bite if they could get Story on a three or four-year deal? Story is projected to get a deal somewhere in the five-year, $115 million range, the same deal that Robbie Ray got from the Seattle Mariners. It would be fascinating to see what would happen if the Angels offered a shorter deal with a higher AAV.
Story had a down year in 2021 with a 100 wRC+, but his career averages usually hover in the 120 range and his defense is nothing short of incredible. Maybe a three-year, $100 million deal or a four-year, $125 million deal is enough to get him to budge without hamstringing the Angels long-term finances.
It’s an unlikely outcome, but could very well be something the Angels look into when contract negotiations can resume.
Core economics of CBA not being discussed until January
The lockout doesn’t appear like it’s going to end any time soon, especially after rumors that the two sides have yet to even discuss core economic issues.
Those negotiations are being withheld until January, meaning it’ll be at least a few more weeks before significant progress on a deal is made.