The newest Los Angeles Angels rumor has both Los Angeles teams linked to free agent outfielder Mitch Haniger. The 31-year-old is a player I've been thinking the Angels might want to sign and Jon Morosi of MLB Network says they're showing interest in him.
The Angels have a hole in left field and Mitch Haniger would be a massive upgrade if he stays healthy. He's not the free agent I'd want most there, but he wouldn't be a bad signing.
Signing Mitch Haniger would be a high risk high reward type of move.
Mitch Haniger is a player who fits into the kind of players the Angels like. He does strike out a lot but has a ton of power. In 2021 he hit 39 home runs while driving in 100 runs for the Mariners. He had a 26-home-run season back in 2018 as well.
While Haniger has a very high ceiling, his floor is low as well. His floor is low because he has an injury history. He played in just 57 games this past season and struggled offensively. He has just two seasons of playing in over 100 games.
The Angels can hope he stays healthy, but there might be better bets available on the market for that. The last thing this team needs is to have another 70 OPS+ hitter like Jo Adell playing every day in left field because Haniger is hurt for an extended period of time.
Haniger also fits the kinds of players the Angels already have. The Halos have a guy in Jared Walsh who strikes out a lot but also hits for power. The Angels were 11th in home runs last season but 25th in runs scored. That tells me they need more guys who can get on base and put the ball in play.
Guys like Brandon Nimmo and Andrew Benintendi who put the ball in play and get on base a ton make more sense to me, but they'll also be more expensive most likely. Nimmo certainly would be, Benintendi would require more years at a minimum.
If the Angels get a healthy season or two out of Haniger that'd change things dramatically. When he's been healthy, he's had two all-star-caliber seasons. It's still a lot to ask for to make a healthy season happen, especially when Shohei Ohtani is the full-time DH. The great bat makes it worth it, and he should be fine in left field, but it's something for Perry Minasian to think about.
This Angels rumor makes a lot of sense and Haniger would be a good signing. He's a guy who can hit in the middle of the order and be a key run producer if he's healthy. The question is, will he be healthy? And is it worth taking the risk? I'm curious to see what they decide on.