The Los Angeles Angels capped off a disappointing 2023 season with a 7-3 win over the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium to finish 73-89 for a second consecutive year.
The Angels went into the campaign with expectations of getting back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. And while the team hovered around contention for the first few months, a stockpile of injuries ultimately derailed them in the second half.
Angels manager Phil Nevin reflected on a trying year and vowed to come back stronger in 2024, per Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group:
“It’s been a trying year,” Nevin said before the game. “It was fun for a little while there. Almost three months into the season and you’re still in the middle of it and you can see some good things happening. I think there’s a lot of reasons that happened this year. We certainly could be having a different conversation right now and getting ready to play next week. And unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
“This game is extremely difficult. We have a lot of young players who are learning and at a rapid pace. We’re all going to spend this winter trying to get better and come back and give them a better product.”
Although the Angels fell short of their goals, Nevin is proud of his players and expressed confidence about the future:
“I know it didn’t go the way we wanted, but I’m proud of the way that room held together,” Nevin said after Sunday’s game. “But it wasn’t fun. It’s not fun ending the way we did, but it was a great group in there. There’s a lot of good things that are on the horizon here if you will, the young players with guys coming back. Good future.”
The Angels will have a month to regroup before they head into the most important offseason in franchise history. The first item on the agenda will be determining whether Nevin returns next year as he is currently without a contract.
Once the coaching staff is sorted out, all eyes will be on Shohei Ohtani and his free agency plans. If the two-way star re-signs with the Angels, it would theoretically propel the organization back to contention.
In the event Ohtani signs with a different team, the Angels could decide to enter a rebuild, which will open the door for any potential roster move, including trading Mike Trout.
No matter what happens, the Angels have some building blocks for the future, and that at least gives them some hope as they look to bounce back next year.
Angels’ Shohei Ohtani led MLB in jersey sales for 2023
Unsurprisingly given his popularity, Ohtani led MLB in jersey sales this season, besting the likes of Ronald Acuña Jr., Aaron Judge, Fernando Tatis Jr., Mookie Betts, Jose Altuve, Julio Rodríguez, Matt Olson, Alex Bregman and Trout.