This offseason for the Los Angeles Angels has been relatively quiet other than the tears of Angels fans hitting the ground when Shohei Ohtani signed with the Dodgers. There have been some rumblings that general manager Perry Minasian still could make a splash, given the rumors that the Angels could still be in on Blake Snell, but odds are that this will be a transitional year for the roster without anymore big moves to speak of.
LA hasn't been completely quiet, though, and while the move to sign Aaron Hicks to a one-year deal may not look like much on paper, there could be some long-term implications of adding him when it comes to the future of Jo Adell. Angels beat writer Rhett Bollinger very correctly predicted such things a few days ago.
What do the Angels do with Jo Adell after signing Aaron Hicks?
As Bollinger pointed out, the Angels' outfield is pretty crowded at the moment. Obviously Mike Trout isn't going anywhere unless he gets hurt again, but Taylor Ward has earned more playing time with his progress the last couple of years. A healthy amount of skepticism about Mickey Moniak is warranted given his track record, but the guy did post an .802 in over 300 plate appearances last year in LA. All of that doesn't even account for Jordyn Adams, who is a tremendous athlete and uber-talented prospect who has battled offensive inconsistency not unlike Adell.
Adell's struggle to stick in the big leagues has been well-documented. The Angels picked him 10th overall and he quickly established himself as one of the best prospects in all of baseball thanks to his otherworldly tools and big-time production in the minor leagues. However, he has not been nearly as productive in multiple stints in the big leagues, with a combined .214/.259/.366 slash line in 619 plate appearances across four seasons. There were areas of improvement this year, but it doesn't seem like he is a finished product yet and he is now out of minor league options.
So far, the Angels are saying all the right things. They believe they can carry all the outfielders they have right now and find a way to get guys playing time. LA's financial commitment to Hicks isn't such that they have to play him all the time, and it isn't like he hasn't had his own warts at the plate in his career outside of his strong work with the Orioles last year.
Maybe the Angels have a plan going into spring training that involves playing Adell, and if he starts the spring out well, maybe we are talking about another Angels outfielder being on the chopping block. However, based on his lack of options and his inability to hit in the big leagues thus far, moving Adell elsewhere currently represents the easiest of the moves to make. If he can't win a big league roster spot this year, there is no chance that he would make it through the waiver wire unclaimed. He is just too talented for that to happen, which is what makes his time with the Angels all the more frustrating.