The Los Angeles Angels have the impossible task of trying to replace Shohei Ohtani's production. Barring a signing of a pitcher like Yoshinobu Yamamoto or Blake Snell, it's virtually impossible for them to do so in the rotation. When it comes to his offense, that's even more difficult to replace. Even if the Angels signed a hitter like Cody Bellinger or J.D. Martinez, they're not close to Shohei.
While replacing Ohtani is impossible, that doesn't mean the Angels can't make some improvements. Their lineup has some quality pieces in it, but lacks big bats in the middle of the order. Mike Trout is still there, but the next best hitter being Brandon Drury probably isn't great.
With that in mind, the Angels being linked to Teoscar Hernandez makes a whole lot of sense. Hernandez is one of the best hitters available this offseason, and can help this lineup in a big way.
MLB Insider links former Mariners outfielder to the Angels
Former Reds GM and current MLB Insider Jim Bowden of The Athletic (subscription required) listed 17 of the top remaining free agents after Shohei Ohtani made his decision to join the Dodgers and predicted their landing spots. Bowden got off to a slow start by predicting Michael Wacha to join the club. Wacha's fit made some sense as the Angels need starting pitching, but the right-hander signed a deal with the Royals and is off the board.
The other free agent Bowden predicts to go to the Angels is Teoscar Hernandez, and that fit makes a lot more sense than Wacha. The Angels need a big bat, and that's exactly what this outfielder is.
Hernandez broke out in 2018 as a member of the Blue Jays by finally earning an everyday role and hitting 22 home runs. He has hit at least 22 home runs in each of the last five full seasons (excluding 2020), and has hit 25 or more in each of the last four full seasons. He hit 26 home runs in 2023 in his lone season with Seattle while driving in 93 runs. When the Mariners made their second half push toward the playoffs, Hernandez played a big role in that as he got hot offensively.
Hernandez's power would be a welcome addition to this Angels team, but that doesn't mean he doesn't come with his deficiencies. He's regarded as a below-average defender (although he was solid in the field in 2023), rarely walks, and strikes out a ton. Hernandez had just a .305 OBP in 2023 and was third in the majors striking out 211 times.
The bottom line here is the Angels need this kind of bat. Hernandez took home back-to-back Silver Slugger awards in the 2020 and 2021 seasons, and has supplied consistent power for a half-decade now.
The 31-year-old would essentially replace Ohtani in the DH spot and can play both corner outfield spots if the Angels need him to. The fit makes sense, and at a very cheap two years for $28 million like Bowden predicts, it's arguably a no-brainer even with his deficiencies.