The Los Angeles Angels had a mediocre offense in 2023 despite rostering the league MVP in Shohei Ohtani. They ranked 16th in runs scored which is as mediocre as it gets. Only two teams that ranked lower made the playoffs. Those teams were the Brewers and Marlins, who were both carried by strong pitching staffs. The Angels didn't have that, so it's not hard to figure out why the team finished with a 73-89 record.
The Angels were among the elite teams in the power department, ranking fifth in the majors with 231 home runs. They were third among AL teams, and only had two fewer home runs than the World Series champion Rangers. Hitting for that much power and finishing 16th in runs scored means the Angels didn't do enough of the little things. Where they really struggled was their lack of hitting with runners in scoring position.
The Angels finishing in the middle of the pack in runs despite the season Ohtani had should raise massive alarm bells for this franchise. They're not in control of whether Ohtani stays or goes, but are in control over what they do after he decides. All signs point to him leaving, although it's hard to really know anything with Ohtani leaking nothing.
LA Angels must be aggressive in improving offense if Ohtani leaves
Joel Reuter of Bleacher Report seems to think he's leaving. That's not why his projected Angels lineup is depressing. It's depressing because he has them doing nothing after he leaves. His Angels projected lineup is just nine players they have on the roster right now.
1. Nolan Schanuel - 1B
2. Luis Rengifo - 2B
3. Mike Trout - CF
4. Brandon Drury - DH
5. Taylor Ward - LF
6. Anthony Rendon - 3B
7. Mickey Moniak - RF
8. Logan O'Hoppe - C
9. Zach Neto - SS
The lineup is... underwhelming to say the least. What was an average lineup with Ohtani is sure to be among the league's worst without him if not a single change is made. That's pretty inarguable.
There are some bright spots. Mike Trout is still an elite player when healthy. Brandon Drury was a Silver Slugger finalist after winning the award in 2022. Young players like Schanuel, Moniak, O'Hoppe, and Neto can continue to progress. The Angels might even get something out of Anthony Rendon. The problem is a lot will have to go right for this group to even be competitive.
Can players like Trout and Rendon actually stay healthy? They haven't in years. Will the young players actually take steps forward? Can a player like Luis Rengifo repeat what turned out to be a career year?
Expecting the Angels to go out and sign a player like Cody Bellinger in response to Ohtani leaving probably isn't realistic, but expecting them to do something shouldn't be out of the question. Running it back with no changes other than Ohtani leaving should not be an option.