The theme of the Angels 2021 additions have been low-risk and cost-effective. Another similarity some of the players share is their previous ties under manager Joe Maddon. It’s possible the trend continues at some point this season or in later in free agency with two current Chicago Cubs: Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez.
Angels: Joe Maddon will be an advocate in signing Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo.
The pair have been the faces of Chicago’s Golden Era of baseball for the past six seasons. Neither has been able to reach contract extensions with the Cubs, leading to believe both will hit the free-agent market at the end of the season.
The Angels only have four players (Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Justin Upton, Shohei Ohtani) under contract after this season. There will be a lot of flexibility to spend money on high-level talent, which is part of the reason owner Arte Moreno and GM Perry Minasian chose to play it safe this year.
It’s also possible Chicago trades one or both players at the July deadline. As competitive as the Cubs have been in recent years, they’ve trapped themselves in a corner by not securing any of their franchise players for the long-term. If they fall out of contention, it’s possible they choose to get a head start on a rebuild.
Maybe the Angels would be calling at the deadline if they are in position for a playoff push, but it’s unlikely they could afford what the Cubs are looking for in terms young talent. There were rumors in this past offseason about the Halos showing interest in catcher Willson Contreras, but it would probably take more than Los Angeles can offer.
Even if they did have a top farm system, it’s not likely the Halos would take the risk of trading away their future for half a season of Rizzo or Baez before they become free agents. The best bet for the Angels would be to make both players an offer they can’t refuse in the upcoming offseason. They’ll be able to afford it.