Analyzing the Angels Offseason


We’ve looked at all the moves the Angels made this offseason, now it’s time for us to examine there impact on the club. Jerry Dipoto has a clear purpose for all of his moves. The team enjoys the ability to maintain a high payroll, but past contracts have limited them in their free agent signings the past two offseasons. That’s not necessarily a bad thing given the nature of overpaying on the open market.

Dipoto has learned first hand the pain involved in free agent spending. Clearly, he has set his mind toward building a sustainable contender by building a crop of young players who can lead to solid production at a controlled cost. With the Angels thin farm system he has been forced to trade away talent on his Major League roster to create that sustainability. First he shipped off Mark Trumbo last offseason and continued this offseason by trading Hank Conger and Howie Kendrick. The results of those trades were the most precious commodity in the game, young controllable pitching. 

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The results of all this trading? The Angels have brought in players which when combined, will give them the potential to control them (including though arbitration) for a combined fifty-years worth of service. That’s counting only the major moves with major league and near major league players. Not all of those players will live up to their abilities and will no doubt be let loose or packaged into other trades, but it gives the Angels amazing flexibility. They don’t have to delve deeply into the uncertain and financially dangerous world of free agency in order to fill a variety of holes that were appearing in their farm. The ramifications of this winters moves will play out over the next half-decade.

Fangraphs Steamer projections are skewed heavily on past production. Therefore, the numbers they call for all of the Angels young players in 2015 are modest at best. Combing those players added WARs for this season gives a WAR of 3.1. Not a terrible mark but given that young players such as Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano will likely play more than Fangraphs projects, should mean that number will be much higher when we reevaluate at the end of the season.

Looking at the subtractions made from last years 98-win team, we can see that. Fangraphs says Howie Kendrick

The differences in total WAR are not great but they come from a much smaller core of players

will be the biggest loss for the team where his 2.4WAR will be hard to replace. Combining all the losses together shows that we will conservatively be without 3.8 WAR. The differences in total WAR are not great but they come from a much smaller core of players. How that affects the heart of the team will depend on how their replacements and young players step up.

Dipoto lost some young pitching talent this season when he traded Jairo Diaz, Ricardo Sanchez and others. Those losses probably won’t be felt much this season but it could hurt to watch them in opposing uniforms in upcoming seasons. The bulk of his dealings were with veteran players who didn’t have a lot of team control left. It will hurt this season but adding those significant losses up equates to losing twelve years of player control, or eighteen if you include the 17-year-old Ricardo Sanchez.

Summery of Angels Gains and Losses:

+32 years of player control

-0.7 WAR for 2015

Our team is largely intact from their fantastic 2015 and looks to be setup for a much better future than we were at the start of last offseason.

Next: Alex Yarbrough Utility Man?