The Los Angeles Angels enter the 2023 offseason in a difficult position. The team just finished with a 73-89 record after trying to go all in at the trade deadline in an effort to convince Shohei Ohtani to remain an Angel long-term. No extension was reached, and nothing even publicly came out about one being discussed a single time.
With no extension, Ohtani officially hit free agency for the first time since the Angels signed him, able to walk away for nothing more than a measly draft pick. The Angels hope to retain Ohtani, but even with Shohei they failed to put together a winning season. In fact, the Angels have not finished a season with a winning record since 2015. They have not made the playoffs since 2014.
Ohtani is the top priority, but more work is to be done. Perry Minasian must do whatever he can to try and either make this team competitive, or have them set up nicely for a rebuild. These ten free agents are among the best in the class and are ones Minasian should be pursuing this offseason.
10) Jordan Hicks
The Angels bullpen needs a lot of help. They were among the league's worst in terms of ERA and blown saves in 2023, and could finish in the same boat next season if major improvements aren't made. Jordan Hicks would be a major improvement, but it'd be one with some risk as well.
Hicks is coming off his best season, posting a 3.29 ERA in 65 appearances and 65.2 innings of work for the Cardinals and Blue Jays. He walks many, but held the opposition to a .231 average against and just four home runs. Walks don't hurt nearly as badly when opponents can't cash them in.
The right-hander is among the hardest throwers in the league, averaging 100.1 mph with his sinker and 100.3 mph with his four-seam fastball. Hicks also generates a ton of ground balls, doing so at a 61.6% rate this past season. His flyball rate was at a sparkling 12%. With the Ron Washington hire, the Angels will hopefully have improved infield defense which would make the Hicks addiiton one that could work out great.
The problem with this right-hander in particular is there are some durability concerns. He was healthy this past season, but combined to make 74 total appearances from 2019-2022. He was nine shy of that this past season alone.
Hicks late in games would be a great pickup if he can stay healthy. It'd be risky considering he's going to warrant a lucrative multi-year deal, but could be very worthwhile.