The Los Angeles Angels have some big holes to fill in the off-season


My fellow co-editor Vincent Page wrote a good story the other day about how the Los Angeles Angels don’t need to make any big-ticket purchases over the winter, but I respectfully disagree with this notion. I believe the Angels do need to make a splash this off-season if they truly want to be a contender next season.

So this is my counter-point article to Vincent’s.  The Los Angeles Angels have done very little in the past three off-seasons and for good reason.  The obscene contract that was given to Josh Hamilton in 2013 made big ticket purchases in the free agent market not feasible for the Angels. Don’t get me wrong in the past couple of season with Billy Eppler as the general manager have still had some significant moves that have improved the team.

Eppler was able to acquire an all-star shortstop Andrelton Simmons for an aging veteran and highly regarded pitching prospect.  The Angels also acquired third baseman Yunel Escobar from Washington for a young reliever.  Both of these players Simmons and Escobar have been key players for the Angels over the last few seasons.

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Eppler continued this off-season acquiring Cameron Maybin for next to nothing to fill a hole in left field and Ben Revere was added to the bench to give the Angels a little bit of depth in the outfield.  Getting Martin Maldonado to play catcher as well has paid dividends as well, but Luis Valbuena and Danny Espinosa were both low-budget moves that have not panned out very well for the team, but were made necessary due to the Hamilton contract still being on the books.

Now that Hamilton’s contract is off the books the Angels have some money they can spend.  I do agree with my colleague that the Angels don’t need to go out and spend money foolishly on high priced free agents who are not worth it in the long run, but the Angels need to fill some holes in order to contend in 2018.

The Angels need a quality third baseman who is not on the backside of 30.  Mike Moustakas is an attractive free agent who is just 29 years old, but he has proven to be a clutch player in the playoffs and is starting to come into his own this season hitting 37 homers with 83 RBIs and a .273 average.  These are all career numbers for Moustakas so it is risky, but so was the signing of Adrian Beltre by the Rangers after a great 2010 season.

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At the time Beltre was 30 years old and was known as a good player who was inconsistent.  It’s hard to compare Moustakas to Beltre, but it does show what could happen and the Angels could be the beneficiary.  I don’t think the Angels need to break the bank for Moustakas but if they can get him for a decent price I would go for it.  The other option is Todd Frazier of the Yankees and he is another player that could be a good fit for the Angels, but he would also come at a steep price.

There are other needs as well this off-season, most notably is the second base spot as well.  The Angels might be able to get by getting Brandon Phillips to agree to a one or two year deal for like 14 million dollars and they would get a veteran presence who seems to work very well with Andrelton Simmons.  The other option is going after either Jed Lowrie or Neil Walker who are the best free agents on the market at second base.  Both of these options are 33 year old and are risky propositions so Phillips would make sense.

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Finally in left field Justin Upton would definitely fill the void that has been there since Garrett Anderson has left close to 10 years ago.  Juan Rivera, Vernon Wells, and Josh Hamilton were not the answer.  Cameron Maybin could have been the answer, but that is a moot point now.  So resigning Upton is a major priority.  It will take some money, but I think he is worth it as he has been pretty consistent over the past five seasons hitting close to 30 homers each year and driving in 90 plus runs and he is just 30 years old.

Unlike the second and third base positions there are a number of options in the free agent market for outfielders so if they don’t resign Upton there are other options to explore such as J.D Martinez.

Next: Angels don't need to overspend

In closing I think the Angels need to make a big splash in the free agent market to make them contenders for years to come.