Are LA Angels following Dodgers’ model in 2024 offseason?

Could the Los Angeles Angels have their eyes set on someone else in next year's free agency class?
Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Ever since the day Shohei Ohtani signed with the Los Angeles Angels in 2018, the Los Angeles Dodgers were on a mission to see him play in Dodger Blue one day. As many in the baseball world were left speechless last year by the Dodgers electing to have a quiet offseason, that patience paid off, as they recently signed Ohtani to an unprecedented 10-year deal worth an earth-shattering $700 million. Sometimes, patience pays off -- for all parties.

As the Angels are now preparing for life without Ohtani, they're in dire need of not only replacing his arm at the top of the pitching rotation, but also of finding another bat to fill out the starting lineup.

Throughout the offseason, the Angels have been in the mix and are currently still rumored to be in a position to sign either Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery. They were also considered potential candidates to land Cody Bellinger before he signed a three-year deal that features multiple player opt outs, worth up to $80 million if he stays in Chicago all three seasons.

While rumors of the Angels signing the reigning Cy Young winner or the 2019 NL MVP/reigning Comeback Player of the year spiraled all winter, they could be secretly replicating the Dodgers formula from last offseason instead, with their eyes set on a free agent in the next year's class.

Moves the LA Angels have made this offseason

The Angels have spent most of this offseason retooling a bullpen that ranked 24th in ERA last season.

Aside from improving the bullpen, the Angels have also gone on to make great additions across the roster by finding quality role players on inexpensive deals like Aaron Hicks, who is being paid the league minimum by the Angels but will still be collecting $9.78 million from the New York Yankees after being released by them last May.

The Angels have also gone on to sign Zach Plesac, Jake Marisnick, and Miguel Sano (who recently lost 58 pounds) to minor-league deals, giving them the flexibility to have starting caliber players on very team-friendly deals.

Aside from acquiring these veterans, the Angels have also gone on to bring in Ron Washington as the team's manager moving forward, while also shifting their focus towards the recent youth movement, including players like Zach Neto, Nolan Schanuel, Chase Silseth, and Logan O'Hoppe. They all will see everyday playing time this season.

Arte Moreno's Plan for the Future of the LA Angels

Recently, Angels owner Arte Moreno came out and held his annual press conference with the media ahead of spring training, laying out his plan of the future.

In that press conference, Moreno discussed the futures of both Angel Stadium and Tempe Diablo Stadium, where the team plays during spring training. He also noted that the plan moving forward is to lower the spending budget of the Angels this year, which left many wondering what that means moving forward.

Recently, Angels superstar center fielder Mike Trout came out and said he would like to see the Angels improve the roster through free agency. However, considering that Bellinger is coming off a resurgent year and Snell is 31 and recently came out and said that he is looking for a deal worth up to nine years for $270 million, the Angels could've been reluctant to sign either of them this past offseason.

When Trout was asked by reporters about conversations with Moreno centered on potentially signing more big-name free agents, he kind of laughed and said, "You know how Arte is."

If Moreno is actually serious about lowering the budget and deciding not to sign either Snell or Montgomery, could he actually have his eyes set on some potential talent that will be available next offseason?

2025 Offseason Free Agents

After the 2024 season comes to an end, the 2025 offseason could be one to remember, as there is both top pitching and hitting talent all across the board. The list of available players includes big names like Pete Alonso, Corbin Burnes, Walker Buehler, Max Fried and Alex Bregman.

While the Angels will likely not be able to sign all five of these names, they should be considered a prime destination to land not just one, but two of these big free agents.

Both Burnes and Fried are currently two of the game's top pitchers right now, and would instantly change the narrative that surrounds the Angels' starting rotation. Both are proven starters who can consistently pitch deep into games while also maintaining ERAs below 3.30. They will whiff at least 150 batters; either would prove to be the power horse the Angels have desperately needed since Jered Weaver.

With the potential of adding Buehler to the rotation, the Angels would certainly have an ace caliber starting pitcher on staff. The one concern that will revolve around Buehler is his ability to stay healthy, as he has undergone Tommy John Surgery twice in his career.

When healthy, Buehler has proven to be one of the best pitchers in the league and has recently been one of the more dominant names in the Dodgers' starting rotation over the years. Right now, Buehler has a career ERA of 3.02 with a win loss record of 46-16, and is just 29 years old.

Potentially landing either Alonso or Bregman would be another move to bolster the Angels' starting lineup. As Schanuel will likely be the first baseman of the future and Anthony Rendon will still be under contract with the Angels for another two years by the time next year's free agency rolls around, both names should still be ones the Angels should consider. After all, they now have more flexibility at the DH position with Ohtani gone. If Alonso were to come, he would like to see a good portion of his playing time at DH while occasionally giving Schanuel a day off. With the possibility of Bregman coming to the Angels, Rendon could very well slide over to the DH position in an attempt to keep him healthy, as he has missed the last three seasons on the team's injured list.

The Angels could also look into signing some players who might be a bit cheaper, as both New York Yankees starting second baseman Gleyber Torres and (current Mets) starting pitcher Luis Severino will be available in next year's offseason.

Severino will be entering his age-31 season next year, while Torres will be only 28. Both might be solid additions to the Angels roster, and will not command the same amount of money as the names mentioned just before.

That said, if the Angels are staying out of this winter's pool, they'd better have a few big fish in mind next season. Torres and/or Severino wouldn't suffice. Burnes, a Southern California native who "grew up" an Angels fan, would be the perfect fit to go all in for.