Los Angeles Angels 2016 roster taking shape
By David Rice
While the Los Angeles Angels have not made that “big” move that most Angels fans were looking for this offseason, general manager Billy Eppler and his staff have still been very busy during this offseason. In total the club signed, traded, or drafted (Rule 5) 14 players that could be on the 2016 Opening Day roster. In addition they have resigned some of their arbitration eligible players.
So far the Los Angeles Angels have resigned pitchers Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago, Fernando Salas, and also Gold Glove right fielder Kole Calhoun to one-year contracts thus avoiding arbitration. They may eventually talk extension to Richards and Calhoun, and possibly Santiago.
The big moves the team made were trading veteran shortstop Erick Aybar, top pitching prospect Sean Newcomb as well as pitching prospect Chris Ellis to the Atlanta Braves for defensive wizard Andrelton Simmons and minor league catcher Jose Briceno. The other major move was trading rookie reliever Trevor Gott and minor league pitcher Michael Brady to Washington for third baseman Yuniel Escobar, filling the void left by David Freese who became a free agent after the 2015 season.
Besides those two moves the rest have been very mundane. The Los Angeles Angels signed veteran Cliff Pennington to a two-year deal to be a utility infielder. They also signed Geovany Soto to be their back-up catcher, but depending on how Carlos Perez performs. if Perez falters Soto could become the starting catcher in his place.
The Los Angeles Angels also signed or traded for four outfielders, most notably Daniel Nava, and Craig Gentry who are slated to be the main parts of a left field platoon. The Angels also claimed outfielders Rafael Ortega and outfielder Todd Cunningham as a fourth/fifth outfielder, as well as Quinton Berry. Will any of those three prove to be valuable in 2016 is anyone’s guess, but it will make for a great competition in Spring Training.
Rey Navarro and Jefry Marte were signed to fight for a spot as an utility infielder, although both are longshots to make the 2016 Los Angeles Angels opening day roster, but then again so was Johnny Giavotella last season.
Two intriguing players the Angels selected in the Rule 5 draft are first baseman Ji-Man Choi, and reliever Deolis Guerra who will both have to stay on the major league roster all season or the Los Angeles Angels could potentially lose them.
Taylor Featherston was a Rule 5 player last season who was overmatched not having played above Double-A before, but in Guerra has had a short stint in the Major League which may help him not be so overwhelmed. While Choi has never made it to the Majors before he has seen action in Triple-A and is almost 25 years old which is rare for a Rule 5 draftee.
The final two newcomers that both should make the Los Angeles Angels opening day roster in 2016 is hard-throwing right hander Al Albuquerque , and lefty-specialist Rob Rasmussen. Albuquerque could be the potential replacement to got as the Angels 7th inning man. Similarly Rasmussen could give the Angels another left-handed option replacing Cesar Ramos who the Angels chose not to resign after the 2015 season.
There you have it folks all 14 of the potential newcomers to the Los Angeles Angels tem in 2016. How many will ultimately make the Opening Day line=up in 2016. It will definitely make Spring Training very interesting in 2016. Over the next week your Halo Hangout staff will preview each of the 14 new players so that you could potentially get to know them better. Let the games begin!!!