Once again, the LA Angels find themselves in baseball purgatory going into the offseason. Too good to rebuild, not good enough to contend. However, all that can change with this five-step guide.
The LA Angels are committed to winning. Having the game’s best player in Mike Trout and player like Shohei Ohtani is reason enough to try. However, they are far away from a World Series. They have an argument as the third best team in the American League West, but they can jump up a spot or two if they have the offseason fans dream of.
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1.) Extend Mike Trout to a lifetime deal
This should be the Angels’ first priority this offseason. Nobody wants to be known as the team that let Mike Trout walk. The key to contending in the foreseeable future for the Angels begins and ends with the game’s best player. There have been rumors that the Halos intend to offer an extension to Trout this offseason, and waiting until big names like Harper and Machado sign would be the best idea, so that Trout can top them as the highest-paid player in MLB history.
2.) Hire the right manager
This one seems vague, but truth be told I have no clue who the next manager would be. I prefer a clean slate, so hiring someone who was not apart of the Scioscia era would be the best bet in my opinion. Whether that means hiring Billy Eppler’s old friend Joe Girardi or hiring an in-house guy like Eric Chavez or Brad Ausmus, the Halos need a clean break from the Mike Scioscia renegade.
3.) Sign Patrick Corbin and one Astros’ starter
The starting rotation looked absolutely dominant for stretches in 2018. However, as usual, many players lost the majority of their season to injuries. While Tyler Skagg and Andrew Heaney are pencilled into the rotation for next year, the rest is up for debate. Arizona Diamondbacks ace Patrick Corbin (and former Angels second round pick) is going to be one of the hottest names on the market, and should be the Halo’s #1 target this offseason. Dallas Kuechel and Charlie Morton of the Astros are both free agents, and if the Halos can sign one of them on a short-term deal in addition to Corbin, their rotation in 2019 could be one of the best in the league.
4.) Don’t be complacent with their bullpen
The Angels bullpen was interesting in 2018, and ended up being a solid overall unit. However, they went through their struggles and never had a true shut down closer. Losing Keynan Middleton hurt the group more than people realize, and the Angels need to be aggressive in free agency. Indians reliever Andrew Miller had a down year, but has shown legit closer stuff.
5.) Trust the Process
What does this mean exactly? It means for Billy Eppler to avoid trading his top prospects in attempts to field a better team in the short-term. He has done a phenomenal job in keeping the top guys in the system, and the Angels have legit star potential on the way in Jo Adell. They have great depth in their farm system, and should avoid trading any of their top guys for MLB-ready players.
The Halos are close. They can make the playoffs in 2019, but the current crop of players won’t get it done after injuries come into play. Billy Eppler has been great at making small claims and playing the waivers, but now he needs to prove he can land the big name players as well.