Angels rumors: Team is looking at the trade market to upgrade the rotation

Whether the Angels have the pieces to pull off a big-time trade remains to be seen.
Aug 10, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Alek Manoah (6) throws a
Aug 10, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Alek Manoah (6) throws a / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels came into the 2023 season expecting their starting rotation to be a strength, but it turned out to take a major step back. Virtually everyone who started a game with the exception of Griffin Canning failed to meet expectations. Even Shohei Ohtani struggled at times on the mound.

The Angels starters ranked 19th in ERA which isn't dreadful, but it is certainly below-average. They did that even with Ohtani posting a 3.14 ERA in his 23 starts. Considering the fact that Ohtani will not be pitching in 2024 even if he re-signs with the Angels, this team desperately needs upgrades.

Free agency would make the most sense with many talented starters available, but Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic (subscription required) said that the Angels are very active on the trade market, and could be looking there to make their big splash.

LA Angels looking to make shocking trade to bolster their rotation

"“The Angels have scanned and engaged in discussions on multiple fronts over a wide variety of starting pitchers, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.”"

Fabian Ardaya - The Athletic

The names of four pitchers were given by Ardaya. Alek Manoah was the first one mentioned, but Ardaya noted that the Blue Jays have no interest in dealing him or any of their other starting pitchers. The other three pitchers named are all in their final years of control. Shane Bieber, Corbin Burnes, and Tyler Glasnow were named, and Ardaya notes that there are others as well.

What the Angels can give up that opposing teams would want for their pitchers remains to be seen. Sure, they can deal guys like Logan O'Hoppe, Zach Neto, and Nolan Schanuel who showed impressive signs in their rookie seasons, but that'd be counterproductive. The Angels should not be dealing players who are good enough to start with six or seven years of team control.

The farm system is subpar at best. It's undoubtedly one of the worst in the majors. The Angels definitely have enough to trade for pitchers who are in their final years of team control, but other teams can easily top what they have to offer. This all comes down to how aggressive Perry Minasian will be and how desperate he is to field a winning team in 2024. Perhaps their level of aggressiveness will come down to Ohtani's decision.