The 2023 season went from being one where at times it felt like the Los Angeles Angels were legitimately in the playoff hunt for the first time in years to another wasted season. The Angels bought at the trade deadline to try and win in their last guaranteed year with Shohei Ohtani but went just 17-38 after the deadline. Mostly everyone underperformed, and the team was decimated by injuries.
Only six teams finished with worse records than the Angels in 2023, and ESPN in their 'way-too-early' power rankings has the Angels ranked even lower.
ESPN predicts a rough 2024 season for the LA Angels without Shohei Ohtani
ESPN has the Angels ranked 25th in their early 2024 Power Rankings. They're only ahead of the Nationals, Athletics, Royals, Rockies, and White Sox. Yikes.
I get the ranking. They've won 73 games in each of the last two seasons with Shohei Ohtani playing at an absurdly high level, and could be losing him. Even if they keep Mike Trout the Angels legend is older, coming off his worst season, and hasn't been healthy in years. If Ohtani and Trout both were out, who would be the Angels' best player? Brandon Drury?
There's a lot to fix on this Angels team, and this offseason is full of mystery. We still have no idea who the next manager will be, or even who the favorite is. We have no idea what Plan B is if they fail to re-sign Shohei Ohtani. Even if Ohtani walks it's not past Arte Moreno to just splurge on a different top free agent and try to sell the fan base on him. While the Angels won't be good regardless if Shohei leaves, they could be better than 25th if they bring in a top free agent.
Even if they sign Ohtani or another free agent, the ceiling is not very high. Within Arte Moreno's constraints, the chances of the Angels making the playoffs in 2024 are almost zero. Anywhere between 20 and 30 feels like the right sweet spot for this Angels team, which is nothing new. It'd be their ninth straight losing season and tenth straight season without a playoff berth.