The Los Angeles Angels have a tough challenge ahead of them this offseason. They're going to try and improve from their 73-89 record which on the surface doesn't sound so hard, but if they're without Shohei Ohtani should prove to be quite the challenge.
The Angels won just 73 games this past season despite getting historic play from their superstar. Ohtani is going to win another MVP award despite missing most of the last month of the season. It shows just how dominant he was.
Part of how the Angels should go about improving is cutting bait with players who won't help. These three players should be non-tendered this offseason to open 40-man roster spots for better players.
1) Jose Suarez
After Jose Suarez's strong finish to the 2022 season, he was guaranteed a spot in the Angels rotation in 2023. This made sense with the lack of options the team had to choose from, but Suarez very early on showed he wasn't up to task.
The 25-year-old posted a 9.62 ERA in his first six starts of the season, immediately getting on the bad side of most Angels fans. He completed five innings just twice in those starts, and one of them saw him allow seven runs against the lowly A's. After allowing seven runs and recording just eight outs against the Rangers at home, Suarez landed on the IL with a shoulder injury. He'd remain there until September.
He'd return in relief and look a bit better, but he simply couldn't have looked worse than he did as a starter. Now the southpaw enters the 2024 season without any clear role on this Angels team. He's been jumped by many starters on the starting pitching depth chart, and isn't any threat as a late-game reliever.
The Angels could keep Suarez around in long relief, but his lack of options makes that unappealing as the Angels would have to just keep him in the majors even if he's unavailable for days after a long relief appearance. We saw how that worked with Tucker Davidson.
In a perfect world, the Angels find a trade for Suarez who is still young and has shown some promise in the majors before. If they can't, non-tendering him makes a lot of sense. The Angels can get similar or even better production from guys like Kenny Rosenberg and Davis Daniel who both have options.