This has been an offseason to forget for the Los Angeles Angels. As expected, Shohei Ohtani left to join the cross-town Dodgers and the outlook for 2024 isn't looking particularly great. They have signed a bunch of guys to minor-league deals and have made mostly low-impact moves here and there, but this offseason has been a major step back for an organization that couldn't afford to give up any more ground.
The one exception in the Angels' roster building has been in the bullpen. The Angels came out of nowhere and added Robert Stephenson on a three-year deal in a what was a legitimate win for LA this offseason, and which should bolster their relief corps significantly in 2024. The Angels continued that trend, albeit in a minor way, over the weekend when they went out and signed former Tigers reliever Jose Cisnero to a one-year, $1.75 million deal.
Adding Jose Cisnero shows that the Angels haven't given up quite yet
It would be easy for the Angels to throw in the towel in 2024. The minor-league system leaves something to be desired, Ohtani is gone, and we don't really know if Mike Trout is going to be able to stay healthy. Even if everything broke their way, it would tough to break through in the AL West that has three legitimate contenders in the Rangers, Astros, and Mariners, with the Athletics just hoping they will be able to pay their electric bill.
However, there are some amount of rumblings that there is still a chance that LA could try and make a splash this offseason. Cody Bellinger and Blake Snell are still out there as free agents, and we know that both the Angels like them AND that Arte Moreno has a tendency to enthusiastically make big signings. Such moves might not make the most logical sense with how the roster looks right now, but the odds are not zero.
At the end of the day, Cisnero is a 34-year-old reliever on a cheap one-year deal who's coming off a bad year in 2023. However, his signing does show that the Angels are still looking for ways to improve from their current state, and Cisnero was a pretty respectable reliever from 2019-2022. Staying away from the top free agents still seems like the smart bet, but it also doesn't feel like the Angels are done quite yet.