The Los Angeles Angels have done a lot to improve their roster over the offseason, re-signing Justin Upton and bringing on Shohei Ohtani, Zack Cozart and Ian Kinsler. Yet, a lot of work remains, specifically in the starting rotation and bullpen. If they want a legitimate shot at not only making the playoffs, but making a deep postseason run, they’ll have to address both units.
With the bullpen, people around the game believe they should be pursuing either Greg Holland or Addison Reed.
Holland has no clear destination after the Colorado Rockies signed Wade Davis to a mega-deal. Reed is in a similar situation. His market is relatively unknown. There is a belief among agents and executives that he has a shot to land a contract in the $9-10 million-per-year range.
That shouldn’t be trouble for an Angel team that has added plenty of money to its payroll this offseason, clearly trying to build a strong contender while Mike Trout is still in town.
After losing Yusmeiro Petit and likely Bud Norris, all the Angels have done is add veteran reliever Jim Johnson via trade. They have proven effective in adding cheap, under-the-radar types (Petit and Norris being examples) in the past to build a strong bullpen, but have done little to build upon a unit that finished 11th in MLB with an ERA of 3.92. In fact, it’s fair to say it has gotten weaker.
Enter Holland or Reed and things change. Johnson can slide to an eighth-inning role, while Holland or Reed occupy the ninth inning. Some around the game believe that Reed would be the more likely target, factoring in age and money.
The other concern is the starting rotation; people in the game feel that may be the more pressing need of the two.
“A No. 2 guy,” one executive said regarding their biggest need. “Not sure where you go get that guy, though.”
“I think they need another stud starter,” another scout said. “I just don’t think Ohtani of 2018 will be that guy this year. 2019, yes. 2018, no.”
As the first executive alluded to, the market for a No. 2 starting pitcher is relatively cloudy.
In free agency, Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta make little sense, considering the cost (likely $20 or more million annually), but Lance Lynn could be a possibility.
It’s something FanRag’s Paul Lebowitz recently wrote about, citing that he’d benefit from Los Angeles’s great defense, Mike Scioscia running the show, and the Southern California atmosphere. He’d also be a fit financially — he won’t cost nearly as much as Darvish or Arrieta.
If the season started today, the Angels would be going into Spring Training with Garrett Richards, Ohtani, Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney, Matt Shoemaker, J.C. Ramirez, Nick Tropeano, Jaime Barria and Parker Bridwell on their depth chart.
If the Angels want a legitimate shot at winning the division or even making a postseason run, they’ll have to address both units. However, there’s pessimism that they will make any bigger moves during the offseason – people around the Angels think they’re done with their expensive shopping. If that’s the case, Los Angeles could be in for a rough year.
“The casual Angels fan is gonna be disappointed,” the scout opined.
Time will tell.