The state of the LA Angels roster right now is complicated.
There are still some free agents who were on the team last year who the team very well could still be interested in signing, who they haven't gotten to yet. This MLB lockout has of course complicated the timeline of this offseason. There's also some moves that the Halos are reportedly in on regarding acquiring other players from other teams and/or free agency.
The roster has the chance to shape up to become one of the best in the American League. As of right now, things are great in some areas, and shaky in others.
The LA Angels roster is missing some pieces, but strong in certain areas.
One of the areas where the LA Angels aren't looking so strong at is the starting rotation.
LA Angels starting rotation:
The LA Angels rotation would currently be:
1. Shohei Ohtani/Noah Syndergaard
2. Shohei Ohtani/Noah Syndergaard
3. Patrick Sandoval
4. Jose Suarez
5. Michael Lorenzen
6. Jaime Barria/Griffin Canning/Reid Detmers/Janson Junk/Packy Naughton
While those first four make our rotation look like it's in a good place, the back-end of the rotation looks questionable. The Lorenzen pick-up earlier this offseason was pretty confusing, as Lorenzen has been rather horrendous as a starting arm in his career. It's why if the Halos really wanted Lorenzen, it shouldn't be to pitch in the starting rotation.
As a starter in his career, he has posted a 4.95 ERA with an extremely discouraging 1.605 WHIP and 1.56 SO/BB ratio.
As for the sixth spot, take your pick. All five have flashed real potential before, and while the Halos may just go ahead and start the one with the highest potential (Detmers), he doesn't have the experience that Canning or Barria has, and Junk or Naughton could turn heads if they have good springs.
Regardless, look for the Halos to pursue trade options for starters this offseason, most notably Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas, and Luis Castillo. They're reportedly in on free agent Carlos Rodon, so don't be surprised if they make a move for the 2021 All-Star.
LA Angels bullpen:
The Halo bullpen was arguably the weakest position group for the LA Angels last year. As of right now, these are some notable bullpen names we officially roster:
While this list certainly does have some major pieces like Iglesias to close and Loup to man the eighth inning (or perhaps other roles), it's not great overall. With that being said, the Halos are likely not done improving the pen. The bullpen is a bit easier to retool due to the prices on free agents not being as expensive, and they also could re-sign a quality free agent from the '21 Angels in Steve Cishek.
Also, some of those starters I mentioned earlier may move to the pen. Some of them who won't be good enough for the rotation may still be good enough to make our roster among the relievers.
One position group that's already a strength for Anaheim is the outfield.
LA Angels outfield:
LF: Justin Upton/Jo Adell
CF: Mike Trout
RF: Brandon Marsh
The Halos will be getting Trout back from his devastating calf injury last year, and $28 million man J-Up will be back too. Trout was having the best year of his career before he went down, and Upton was raking in the leadoff spot for a month before he got banged up.
Adell and Marsh are still on the active roster, and are likely to stay up at the Major League level. One or more of Marsh, Adell, or Upton could end up being traded this offseason, but they are currently Angels of course. Taylor Ward will serve as a backup outfielder to take right if we need him there.
He's a good backup to have, as he posted a 108 OPS+ this season. The Halos could also re-sign Juan Lagares as well this offseason, who still is a really good player defensively and can play all three outfield spots. The No. 1 DH in MLB, Shohei Ohtani, may continue to take some innings in the outfield too if we can keep his bat in the lineup after he pitches.
While the infield, on the other hand, is in question for the 2022 season, there are certainly some intriguing pieces all around that area of the roster.
LA Angels infield:
The LA Angels current starting infield would look like this, assuming Anthony Rendon is healthy (which he should be by spring training):
1B: Jared Walsh
2B: David Fletcher
SS: Tyler Wade
3B: Anthony Rendon
C: Max Stassi
Stassi has become one of the better catchers in the AL, Rendon is a major bounce-back candidate for 2022, and Jared Walsh is coming off of an All-Star season. The Halos signed Wade and Andrew Velazquez to provide more middle infield depth, and already have superb defender David Fletcher to play either middle infield spot.
Jack Mayfield can play the two middle spots as well as third, and so can exciting young prospect Brendon Davis. Other backups on the current roster are Luis Rengifo (second base, shortstop, right field) and Jose Rojas (second base, third base, right field).
All in all, this roster still needs to be hashed out and improved. That being said, there are some impressive parts of it that already give us a chance to compete for the division with the type of players we're getting back from injury.