The Los Angeles Angels are in the midst of one of the more crucial offseasons in the history of their franchise. It could be any day now when they find out whether Shohei Ohtani will stay or depart in free agency. Ohtani has earned the right to do either with everything he's done for the Angels franchise and the lack of support they've given him.
With Ohtani possibly on the move, the Angels must figure out how they're going to react to his decision. If he leaves, will they finally entertain a rebuild? The presumed answer to that question is no. Assuming no, what moves will they make to try and make a push toward the .500 mark and possibly a playoff berth?
One player that makes some sense for the Angels is Teoscar Hernandez. No, he's not the hitter Ohtani is, but he has a whole lot of power and can at least somewhat measure up to Shohei in that regard. He'd fit in nicely as the team's new DH with that power in mind. Brandon Scott of Bleacher Report has Hernandez as the third-best fit for Hernandez but for the wrong reason.
Teoscar Hernandez should not be signed to improve the Angels' right field situation as Bleacher Report suggests
Signing Hernandez to be the Angels' DH makes a lot of sense. He had a bit of a down year in 2023, but still hit 26 home runs with 93 RBI. He's hit at least 25 home runs in each of the last four full seasons (excluding 2020) and has hit at least 20 in each of the last five. Hernandez has hit as many as 32 home runs in a season. No, that's not the 44 Ohtani hit, but he can at least hit for a ton of power in the middle of the order.
The problem with Scott's plan is he doesn't have Hernandez penciled in as the team's DH. He believes he'd be signed to upgrade their right field situation.
"Specifically in right field, there is an obvious hole. Only two teams had a lower fWAR in right field than the Angels and absent of signing someone like Hernández, or an unexpected trade, there is no solution on the horizon."- Brandon Scott - Bleacher Report
Scott cites the Angels' poor right field play as a reason why Hernandez would make sense. To that, I say he should pay more attention to why the right field play was so dreadful. Hunter Renfroe played in 116 of the Angels' 162 games in right field. He was beyond underwhelming before the team cut him loose at the end of August. The player who played the most games after Renfroe in right field was Mickey Moniak who played 15 games there. Moniak had an excellent season, unlike Renfroe.
Going from Renfroe to Moniak is an obvious upgrade. Having Taylor Ward healthy in left field and Mike Trout healthy in center field would actually give the Angels a solid outfield to deploy. Sure, it would be nice to have Hernandez who can step in right field if the Angels had injury woes, but they'd be signing him to be their DH.
Having Hernandez as the team's DH does a couple of things. First, it takes what's been a bad glove throughout his career out of the equation. Second, it bumps Luis Rengifo to a utility role where he can contribute at a variety of positions (including right field). This also adds to the Angels' depth, which is sorely lacking. It'd be a solid move, but not in the way Scott intends it to be. Let Moniak play right, and let Hernandez worry about mashing the baseball.