Opening Day is approaching quickly, and the Los Angeles Angels are right in the middle of Spring Training. The Angels have played pretty well, boasting an 8-5-1 record in Cactus League play (not including the loss vs. Team USA).
With Opening Day fast approaching, that means there will be Opening Day roster decisions fans might not be super thrilled with. Players we want to see on Opening Day might not get that shot. Here are three examples.
1. Angels fans will be mad that Brett Phillips is the fourth outfielder
This is the most obvious one, but Angels fans were mad when the team signed Brett Phillips, and they'll be mad when he's on the Opening Day roster even if they see it coming.
The Angels signed Phillips to a MLB contract which practically guaranteed him the fourth outfielder job. The Angels starters are set there with Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, and Hunter Renfroe left to right, but the fourth spot was always open.
Originally I had thought the Halos would ignore the fourth outfielder spot and use one of Jo Adell or Mickey Moniak there, but they did the smart thing and signed a veteran. I just wouldn't have signed the veteran they chose.
Phillips is an elite defender, a very fast runner, and a good clubhouse guy. He makes a ton of sense as a fourth outfielder with a very limited role. The problem with him is, he just can't hit.
Last season he slashed .144/.217/.249 with five home runs and 15 RBI in 83 games for the Rays and Orioles. He's a .188 hitter in his six-year career. This spring he has one hit in 20 at-bats with 12 strikeouts.
As frustrating as it'll be to have an automatic out at the bottom of the lineup in games that he does start, I still don't think it'll cost the Angels much. His legs and glove should help tremendously, and he could spark something in the clubhouse as well.
Moniak and especially Adell can use some time in AAA to play every day and improve. If there's an injury in the outfield, one of those guys will be brought back up to play every day with Phillips staying in his fourth outfielder role. There will be no circumstance Phillips plays consistently, which is a good thing.