What are the 5 biggest priorities for the LA Angels in the off-season.
The Angels need a catching upgrade
The Angels had a very good catcher in 2018 in Martin Maldonado that was amazing defensively and could hit for some power offensively. However, they traded him to Houston at the August trade deadline in 2018 and netted Patrick Sandoval which is not a bad trade-off, however the Angels have not been able to find an adequate replacement since.
Jonathan Lucroy was a decent catcher five years ago, but his offense has sagged and he was never a great defender and it showed this season as the Angel pitchers led the league in wild pitches (some which should have been passed balls) and teams ran on the Angels almost at will. So he was dispatched in August as the team released him, but now that don’t have any close to being the starting catcher on their roster. Max Stassi, Anthony Bemboom, and Kevan Smith are back-ups and nothing more. Smith is the only one who has shown he can hit and Stassi is the only one who has shown enough defense to be used on a semi-regular basis, but his hitting is atrocious.
The issue is there is not much out there in the free agent market for catching with Wilson Ramos and Yasmani Grandal are probably the two top candidates that most teams will pursue. Both of them can hit and play decent defense, but I’m not sure how much the Angels would be willing to spend for either one and they are both in their early 30’s too so that could factor in as well. Martin Maldonado is out there and I would be against bringing him back as he was such a plus two seasons ago. We will just have to wait and see, but getting a strong defensive catcher will help the pitching staff immensely.