The Los Angeles Angels lost Shohei Ohtani to their crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The best player in baseball departs the only franchise he's ever known, leaving them in utter disarray. Sure, there are some bright spots on this team, but because the Angels won 73 games this past season with Ohtani, it's valid to question how they plan on improving without him.
Perry Minasian has made it abundantly clear that the Angels are not going to rebuild even with no Ohtani. So no, Mike Trout is not going anywhere. Neither are players on expiring contracts. At least not until closer to the trade deadline. This Angels team is going to try and compete. At least that's what they say. With Arte Moreno as the owner, that comes as no surprise as he has refused to rebuild during his entire tenure as Angels owner.
With the Angels looking to compete in 2024 they're just going to splurge on the remaining high-end free agents, right? I mean, there are great players available for the Angels to sign like Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Josh Hader, and Cody Bellinger. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required, not exactly.
LA Angels plans after losing Shohei Ohtani are underwhelming at best
Look, I get it. There is no replacing Shohei Ohtani. There's a reason he got $700 million from the Dodgers. What that man does on a baseball field cannot be replicated by any one player. Still, that doesn't give the Angels the excuse to not even try, especially if they won't rebuild.
Rosenthal reveals a lot about what the Angels reportedly plan on doing. When it comes to position players, they believe the group is pretty much set. They're going to try and add a middle-of-the-order bat, but are also fine with what they have. The Angels were 16th in runs scored this past season, so below average, with Shohei Ohtani playing for five months and having one of the best offensive seasons in Angels franchise history. How they think they're fine without Ohtani is beyond me. Yet, that's not even the worst part.
"The Angels, sources said, are among the teams in the trade market for one of the starting pitchers under one year of club control — the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes, Rays’ Tyler Glasnow and Guardians’ Shane Bieber. They also could look at the second tier of free-agent starters. "- Ken Rosenthal - The Athletic
When it comes to starting pitching, the Angels need a ton of help. They ranked 19th in starting pitching ERA with Ohtani aboard. Without him, it's hard to even fathom where they'll land, but it'll certainly be lower than 19th. Their plan to address that gaping hole is by either adding a starter with one year of team control or signing one of the second tier of free-agent starters. Really?
The Angels trading the few assets they actually have to land a pitcher with one year of control while fun, would not be wise. This is not a team that is just one pitcher away, especially with how loaded the AL West is. The second-tier of free agency starters isn't bad, but Ohtani wasn't a second-tier starter. The Angels are trying to replace an ace with a mid-rotation starter, when the rotation already needed to be addressed before the Ohtani move.
Now that the Angels missed out on Ohtani, it looks like Arte Moreno is unwilling to spend big on other free agents that can really help this team. With no rebuild coming and no major free agents coming either, this team will remain stuck in no-mans land. Not good enough to win, not bad enough to land a top pick. Thanks again, Arte.