The LA Angels have been busy this off-season improving the team so that they can be more competitive than they’ve been the past four years of sub .500 baseball.
LA Angels general manager Billy Eppler has been in on almost every major free agent pitcher as well inquiring about acquiring so pitchers through trades. They have also talked to a few free agent catchers and of course to Anthony Rendon and agent Scott Boras who they ended up making a seven-year commitment to during the Winter Meetings in San Diego.
Now that the Angels have missed out on pretty much every big free agent pitcher (Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strausburg, Dallas Keuchel, and Madison Bumgarner). While there is still hope the Angels can sign the last big name pitching free agent Hyun-Jin Ryu, if they don’t and they decide to stand pat with acquiring Dylan Bundy from Baltimore and signing former Braves’ hurler Julio Teheran, will it be enough to compete.
The Angels line-up will definitely be improved by adding third baseman Anthony Rendon for seven years and 245 million dollars. This will give the Angels some extra punch to their line-up by providing protection for Mike Trout. The Angels could potentially have five players who will hit 25-or-more home runs and drive in close to 100 runs. Plus fill a long-standing void of consistency at third base that dates back to last decade when Troy Glaus was allowed to walk away as a free agent after the 2004 season.
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The Angels still need a starting catcher most likely as Max Stassi is probably not the answer, but they could decide to go with him as he is said to be a strong defender and the team may not need much offense from the catcher’s spot. Also remember some time in 2020 the Angels will most likely promote top prospect Jo Adell which could provide a potential lead-off hitter, although David Fletcher or Tommy La Stella could fill that role.
Pitching is another story. The Angels added two new starting pitchers to their staff in Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran which will definitely provide the Angels with two reliable starters who can go deep into games thus saving the bullpen some innings. If Shohei Ohtani can comeback strong and show the dame type of stuff post-Tommy John surgery as he did before in 2018 he could anchor the staff. Add in Andrew Heaney and Griffin Canning and the starting five looks much better than the staff the Angels trotted out last season.
So the question is can the Angels compete for the division and a playoff spot with what they have done so far this Winter. My answer is yes, but Bundy and Teheran have to show the ability they have shown in past seasons and not-so-much how they pitched last year. Andrew Heaney must also show signs of developing into a number two or three starter that he was projected to be when the Angels acquired him from the Dodgers at the end of 2015 for Howie Kendrick.
The biggest key is whether the Angels pitching staff can stay healthy! If they can do that then this team will be able to compete as is. This also leaves the opportunity to acquire an ace at the trade deadline in 2020. Let’s wait and see.