What do the Angels need to add to their roster for 2024? – Orange County Register
Typically, the Angels general manager addresses the media the day after the season to begin discussing what’s ahead in the offseason.
As of Monday morning, there was still no word on when that was going to happen, creating the assumption that we are waiting for news on the status of Perry Minasian, who has one year left on his contract.
Manager Phil Nevin is also in limbo, with his contract expiring.
In the meantime, it’s not too difficult to begin an analysis of where the Angels roster stands, even without knowing who is going to be building it this winter.
The big domino, of course, is Shohei Ohtani, who is set to become a free agent. If the Angels are going to sign him, it will be a massive chunk of their 2024 payroll, perhaps as much as $50 million.
Without Ohtani, though, the Angels have seven players signed for a total of just under $110 million — in terms of average annual values, which is how the luxury tax is calculated. Outfielder Mike Trout leads the way at $35.5 million, followed by third baseman Anthony Rendon ($35M), left-hander Tyler Anderson ($13M), infielder Brandon Drury ($8.5M), right-hander Carlos Estévez ($6.75M), catcher Max Stassi ($5.83M) and infielder David Fletcher ($5.2M).
They have another 13 players who are arbitration eligible, with a total salary of about $25 million. It’s likely that several of those — most notably first baseman Jared Walsh — will be non-tendered, so the total of their salaries could be more like $20 million.
That puts the Angels at around $130 million, with about another $22 million due for pre-arbitration players, minor league salaries of 40-man roster players, benefits and the pre-arbitration bonus pool.
All of that brings the current total to around $152 million, with the luxury tax threshold for next year at $237 million.
The Angels were prepared to exceed the luxury tax in 2023 when they thought they were making a playoff run. Then they tried to get back under the threshold once those hopes were gone, so it remains to be seen whether owner Arte Moreno will want to cross the line in 2024.
It’s still uncertain whether the Angels finished above or below the threshold in 2023. If they were above, the penalties would be higher for exceeding the threshold in 2024.
With all of that out of the way, this is a look at who the Angels have on the depth chart. For now, we’re only considering players who have shown something in the big leagues, rather than trying to predict what someone like infielder Kyren Paris might become in 2024.
Logan O’Hoppe is the starter, and the Angels seem content with Matt Thaiss as a backup. Stassi is a wild card. He missed the season with an injury and a family emergency, so it’s unclear whether he’ll even be an option for 2024. The Angels missed his veteran presence with pitch calling this year, so they’d probably welcome Stassi back if he’s ready to play.
If the Angels are going to add anyone to this mix, it would have to be a low-cost veteran known for his work with pitchers. Austin Hedges, an Orange County product, would be the perfect fit.
Zach Neto is the shortstop and nothing else is certain. If Rendon is healthy, he plays third, but he could also get a lot of DH time if Ohtani is gone. Drury can play first, second or third. Nolan Schanuel has shown enough to get the first crack at being the everyday first baseman. The Angels also have Luis Rengifo and Fletcher, who can each play second, third and shortstop.
It doesn’t take much to knock two or three names off that list with injuries or poor performance, though, so the Angels will always be looking for more depth. They won’t be looking for someone who only plays shortstop and probably not a first baseman, but any multi-position infielder could be useful.
The Angels have Taylor Ward, Mickey Moniak and Jo Adell to play alongside Trout. Adell and Moniak are both going to be out of options next season.
Another outfielder would help cover the Angels, since all four of those players were hurt this year, and Adell still hasn’t had any consistent success in the big leagues.
Left-handers Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers and Anderson, and right-handers Griffin Canning and Chase Silseth are the top five.
There’s plenty of potential and youth in that group. Anderson will be 34, but the rest are 28 or younger. Detmers and Silseth — the two with the best pure stuff and upside — are 24 and 23, respectively.
All that aside, that rotation did not do well in 2023, so the Angels could use some insurance. Top starting pitchers are expensive and still risky, and this year’s free agent market is particularly thin.
Estevez is signed, and coming off an overall good year, even though he finished poorly.
After him, the depth chart may as well be blank. Right-handers José Soriano and Ben Joyce both looked like they could be high-leverage relievers, but they still haven’t pitched enough for the Angels to have any idea if they can count on them in 2024.
Pitchers like Andrew Wantz, Jimmy Herget, Jaime Barría and José Suarez (now a reliever) were all good in 2022, but not as good in 2023, so who knows what the future holds. Sam Bachman showed some flashes, but he’s been injured for half the season.
It’s safe to say the Angels bullpen needs a lot of work this winter.
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