Angels would be waving the white flag on 2024 if they trade Brandon Drury before the season starts

Committing to a rebuild is something the Angels should strongly consider if Shohei Ohtani leaves.
Sep 20, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA;  Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Brandon Drury (23)
Sep 20, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Brandon Drury (23) / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Reuter of Bleacher Report came up with 1 player for each of the 30 teams that is most likely to be moved this offseason. The player he chose for the Los Angeles Angels was Brandon Drury, and it's easy to see why.

The Angels finished with a 73-89 record in 2023 after trying to go all in at the trade deadline and win in the final guaranteed year of Shohei Ohtani. With Ohtani presumably departing in free agency, the Angels will have a very hard time fielding a competitive roster. This means trading a guy with an expiring contract like Brandon Drury would make sense as the team attempts to retool.

The Angels under Arte Moreno have never rebuilt, so I'd be pretty surprised if the team did decide to part with Drury even if Ohtani leaves. The reason for that is because they'd essentially be admitting defeat before the season even starts.

LA Angels trading Brandon Drury would be the first clear sign that they're entering a rebuild

The Angels would be able to get something decent for Drury who is on very cheap money for the 2024 season and is coming off an excellent debut season with the Angels. Drury had an .803 OPS and hit 26 home runs despite missing a month with injury. If Ohtani leaves, it's not a bad idea to part with Drury since the chances of this team winning without him are virtually non-existent.

If they parted with the veteran infielder, it's not like the Angels would be desperate to find a replacement. They've already got Nolan Schanuel at first, Zach Neto at short, and Anthony Rendon at third. They also have an easy Drury replacement in Luis Rengifo who is primarily a second baseman anyway.

The problem with trading Drury is teams that are trying to win just don't trade away the second-best hitter on the team in a deal that would likely bring back a prospect. After Mike Trout, I think it's pretty clear that Drury is the second-best hitter on the team right now. Yes, even ahead of Anthony Rendon.

If Ohtani does leave, it'll be interesting to see if the Angels do move in the direction of a rebuild. If they do, Drury becomes one of the biggest names available on the trade market instantly.