By this point, it has been well documented that the Los Angeles Angels need to make some big moves this offseason. Their 2021 season was a massive disappointment, and it was mainly due to the same issues that have been plaguing the team for years.
General manager Perry Minasian has made it clear that pitching is the team’s top priority this winter, whether that means via free agency or trade. They’ll have to make some other moves as well, like perhaps signing a middle infielder.
The contract of Albert Pujols is finally off the books, meaning for the first time in a while, the Angels actually have some financial flexibility. The question surrounding the team is exactly how much money they’ll have to spend.
Here, we’ll lay out the Angels 2022 payroll situation to come up with an approximate number of how much money they have to play with in free agency and trade. For this, it’s important to note that — if you remove the prorated salaries from 2020 — their last two payrolls have totaled approximately $180 million.
On the books
The Halos have just five players under official contract next season. OF Mike Trout ($35.45M), 3B Anthony Rendon ($36M), OF Justin Upton ($28M), SP/DH Shohei Ohtani ($5.5M), and 2B David Fletcher ($4.0M)
These amounts total to $108.95 million, already putting us well over halfway to that $180 million number. This leads us to the next chunk of money.
Luckily, the Angels do not have a significant number of players eligible for arbitration this offseason. They have just four players who could find themselves at a hearing, and even if all four do, they would not cost a huge amount of money.
The four arbitration-eligible players are RHP Junior Guerra (4th year, $750K in 2021), C Max Stassi (3rd, $1.6M), UT Phil Gosselin (3rd, $571K), RHP Mike Mayers (2nd, $1.2M).
Let’s say that all four of these players get 10% raises from 2021 to 2022. They would then be worth a combined $4.533 million, bringing the payroll total to $113.48 million.
The next step for the Angels is deciding whether or not to retain their own free agents. This is a pretty hefty list, including RHP Raisel Iglesias, RHP Alex Cobb, RHP Dylan Bundy, RHP Steve Cishek, OF Dexter Fowler, OF Juan Lagares, and C Kurt Suzuki.
Of this group, Iglesias and Cobb are the most likely to be retained. Iglesias carries a market value of around $16 million per year, given the cost of elite closers, while Cobb is probably closer to $8-10 million. If they retain Iglesias at $16 million and Cobb at $8 million while letting everyone else walk, their payroll would be at $137.48 million.
Money to Spend
This is obviously a very rough estimate, and the Angels could decide to spend more or less than this. But if they want to stick to their recent patterns of around $180 million, they would be looking at around $43 million in spending power if they make all the same moves projected above.
This absolutely could be enough for two frontline starters and perhaps a lower level middle infielder. The question now becomes which ones do they target, what do they offer, and are they willing to get into bidding wars. They famously threw a huge offer at Gerrit Cole only for the New York Yankees to outbid them significantly.