So far, the Los Angeles Angels offseason has followed the plan they laid out. They’ve agreed to deals with four free agents, all of them pitchers, and have doled out over $100 million in contracts. And while pitching has been this team’s biggest need for years, they still have some holes within the position players.
Their most notable gap is at shortstop, where they currently do not have a legitimate starter. They’ve picked up a number of different waiver and DFA names, such as Tyler Wade and Andrew Velazquez, while also having some decent internal options. But they don’t have a standout at the position right now.
Perhaps — in addition to more pitching — the Angels could go after one of the top position players on the market in super utility man Chris Taylor. There has already been rumored interest from the Angels with Taylor hoping to make a decision before Wednesday’s lockout, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network:
Sources: Free agent Chris Taylor is drawing broad interest and could sign by Wednesday. Dodgers would like to retain him. Blue Jays, Mariners, Angels, and Nationals also have been involved over the past week. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 30, 2021
The initial reaction is to ask if Taylor can pitch. He cannot, but he can do just about everything else required of a baseball player. In 2021, he spent legitimate innings at every position except for first base and catcher.
His fielding numbers aren’t special by any means, but his ability to comfortably play six positions without making the defense suffer is a skill by itself. The Angels would mostly ask him to play shortstop, where he spent 153 innings in 2021 despite the L.A. Dodgers having two All-Star shortstops at various times throughout the year.
On the surface, Taylor would be a great fit in Anaheim. His versatility makes him a great fit anywhere, but he could take on the bulk of shortstop innings, switch to second base if David Fletcher wants to play at short, or play any outfield spot if need be.
It’s unclear how strong their interest is and if a deal has any chance of getting done. The Dodgers appear extremely motivated to retain him after losing both Max Scherzer and Corey Seager in free agency. But if the dominos fall and Taylor winds up with the Angels, it would be far from a bad thing.
Shohei Ohtani wins Outstanding DH Award
Another reason adding Taylor would be a positive is because of the depth he would add to the Angels lineup. He’s had a OPS higher than .750 and an OPS+ higher than 100 in each of the last five seasons, and would go perfectly alongside an elite Angels lineup.
This lineup includes the best DH in baseball in Shohei Ohtani, who was given the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award to round out his collection from a historic 2021 season.