The Los Angeles Angels hired and officially introduced Ron Washington as the team's manager for the 2024 season. It's an exciting hire for the Angels as Washington will look to change the culture in Anaheim and get the franchise back on track after eight straight losing seasons.
We've already seen Washington bring Braves first base coach Eric Young Sr. with him to Anaheim to coach third base for the Angels. Washington could look to add more staff members from his Atlanta days to his new coaching staff with the Angels, but could also be in Perry Minasian's ear about bringing former Braves players to town. There are some former Braves in free agency that would be pretty decent fits.
1) Jorge Soler
While the Angels hope to bring Shohei Ohtani back, it's far from a foregone conclusion that that'll happen. In fact, it's more likely than not that Ohtani will depart. Ohtani leaving would mean there's a gaping hole in the Angels lineup as they'd have MVP numbers to replace.
Jorge Soler isn't close to the player Ohtani is, obviously, but he can slot right into the DH position if Ohtani leaves and provide close to the same production power-wise at the very least. That does count for something.
While in Atlanta, Soler helped them get to the postseason thanks to an incredible second half and then won World Series MVP, hitting three home runs in their victory against the Astros. He only spent a couple months with Washington and the Braves, but that had to make an impression.
Soler has spent the last two seasons playing for the Marlins. He struggled his first year and was limited to just 73 games due to injury, but he was one of the best designated hitters in baseball this past season. He slashed .250/.341/.512 with 36 home runs and 75 RBI in 137 games for the playoff-bound Marlins.
The 31-year-old smacking 36 long balls while playing half the time at pitcher-friendly Loan Depot Park says a lot about his power. Soler has hit as many as 48 home runs in a season (more than Ohtani's career-high). His issue has always been simply playing games, as he has just four seasons of 100+ games.
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