Angels' lack of offseason moves directly impacting this struggling area of the roster

Los Angeles Angels v Miami Marlins
Los Angeles Angels v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

While losing Shohei Ohtani was the biggest lowlight of the Los Angeles Angels' offseason (and it was a big one!), they saw more important pieces of the roster walk after their fourth-place AL West finish in 2023 and had a lot of ground to cover to put a decent team on the field in 2024.

Did they actually cover that ground? Based on their last-place standing in the division (tied with the Astros) through a month of play, most signs point to "no." The Angels made eight major league signings during the offseason, seven of which were pitcher acquisitions meant to bolster a bullpen that was 25th in ERA last season.

They moved José Soriano to the rotation, retained Carlos Estévez, and re-signed Matt Moore, but were otherwise starting from scratch.

However, Robert Stephenson, one of the more underrated free agents on the market who signed a three-year, $33 million deal with the Angels, went down with a UCL injury on April 18 that would necessitate Tommy John and keep him out for the entire season. José Cisnero hit the 15-day IL on April 28, Zach Plesac has already been DFA'ed, and Adam Kolarek was outrighted months before the season even began.

Of the offseason pitching acquisitions, that leaves Luis García and Adam Cimber as the only active new Angels in the bullpen.

LA Angels' lack of movement during the offseason is coming back to haunt them

García and Cimber haven't been the help to the bullpen that the Angels' would've hoped. García has pitched 13 innings for a 5.54 ERA; Cimber has been faring better with 14 1/3 innings and a 3.14 ERA. Estévez, Moore, and José Suarez are also all struggling enormously. They all contribute to the Angels relievers' 5.52 ERA, the second-worst in the majors ahead of the Rays, which in turn has contributed to LA's 11-20 record through May 2.

Mike Trout (now out with injury) and his entreaties to the front office to do something to rebuild the team after a devastating spate of player losses after 2023 have clearly fallen on deaf ears. The Angels are in an even worse spot in the bullpen than they were last year, and there were some moments in 2023 when that didn't seem like it would be possible. The bats aren't doing the pitching staff any favors, either; the Angels rank just about dead middle in batting average, OBP, and slugging.

Angels fans have a lot of reasons to rue this past offseason, but the performance from the bullpen despite the attempt at helpful additions makes everything just that much more painful.