After a series of signings, the Los Angeles Angels have a pre-arbitration payroll of roughly $153 million, which ranks fifth-highest in Major League Baseball. With a projected payroll north of $210 million, general manager Perry Minasian doesn’t view the approaching $233 million Collective Bargaining Tax Threshold as a hard cap.
The Angels have flown under the radar with a generally high payroll, but their on-field production hasn’t matched the contracts they’ve handed out in the past, which causes concern that it may happen again.
However, they already signed Tyler Anderson and Carlos Estévez to multi-year deals. Minasian also traded for Hunter Renfroe and Gio Urshela, both of whom are in their final years of arbitration and will be unrestricted free-agents following the 2023 season.
The Angels aren’t figured to take their foot off of the free-agency spending gas pedal as they continue trying to improve, Minasian said via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“We’ve been able to improve this club, I feel like significantly at this point in the offseason, and we still want to do more,” Minasian said. “There are still areas where we can improve, and I’d love to do that.”
Minasian has remained diligent in his pursuit to add depth to the Angels roster and to turn them into a contender. With Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani at the heart of their order, he believes if the deal is right and it lines up, the CBT won’t be a deterrent and they could take their payroll above it:
“I think there’s a possibility,” Minasian said. “There’s no mandate that we can’t. It just depends on the opportunities.”
The Angels ended the 2022 season in third-place behind the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners, an outcome that Minasian is desperately trying to avoid. But their road to the playoffs in a challenging American League West division is still bumpy, and the Texas Rangers have made big improvements as well this offseason.
Angels unlikely to be in top-end shortstop market
The trade for Urshela gave the Angels another infielder with versatility, and as it stands the infield is slated to have Anthony Rendon at the hot corner, David Fletcher at shortstop, Luis Rengifo at second base. Urshela slots in at first base, but that isn’t the ideal scenario for the Angels as they work to strengthen their roster.
Because it’s unlikely they tack on a $30+ million contract, their best option would be to dip into their already barren minor league pool and make an attempt for another stopgap option via trade.
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