LA Angels General Manager Perry Minasian just spoke to the media ahead of spring training about the state of the Halos' roster, and he's not seeing what many of the fans have been seeing. Many fans haven't been excited about the offseason (aside from the bullpen improvements), seeing the Angels as not having made the moves they could have to improve clear needs on the roster. Minasian doesn't agree at all. Here's what he had to say:
There's a lot to unpack here. For starters, have the Angels REALLY improved from where they were last year as far as the starting rotation goes (the biggest need)? Yes, they added Noah Syndergaard, but they ditched Alex Cobb for cheap. They still have multiple major holes in their rotation. No, Michael Lorenzen doesn't do it for me.
He's a bullpen guy who the Angels apparently are going to have start. Also, he was pretty awful in the pen last year anyway (5.59 ERA, 86 ERA+). Yes, Syndergaard has a higher ceiling than Cobb of course, but the problem is that Anaheim has the same amount of quality starters they began the offseason with. They "improved" the rotation very marginally. They needed to add Syndergaard AND re-sign Cobb.
Perry Minasian and the LA Angels have only "improved" the bullpen.
The LA Angels signed Aaron Loup in the offseason, which was a monster signing. That made the Angels better immediately, and then eventually they had a Thursday bullpen spending spree we will likely never forget--signing a quality arm in Archie Bradley and a stud in Ryan Tepera. I have to give credit where it's due:
Bradley has experience pitching in many different roles and can pitch in whatever role he's asked from us. He's had a good career, and will likely continue to. Tepera has been lights out these past two years, and was one of the most coveted relievers on the market. Minasian made these comments, and then proceeded to do a good job with the pen. These two moves were brilliant, and he deserves credit for it.
Still, however, there are other major needs remaining on this roster, and it's not just the rotation. With the middle infield, the Angels have made a few signings/trades, but none of them are proven, quality guys. Andrew Velazquez, Tyler Wade, and Matt Duffy aren't going to move the needle for the fans. Anaheim still has a gaping hole at shortstop.
Next, I understand what he's saying in that very few expected Jose Suarez and Patrick Sandoval to grow the way they did last year, and that he believes in some of his other guys to blossom like that as well. It's certainly possible (I'm looking at you, Jaime Barria).
But, expecting unproven guys to grow into impact ballplayers isn't anywhere close to being a fully reliable strategy. Besides, doesn't every other team therefore have some under-the-radar talents that could blow up this year as well? Nobody's saying that we don't trust that the Halos have some major sleeper candidates on their 40-man.
The issue is that expecting breakouts from those players should never be your Plan A. Especially when you have the two best players in baseball in their primes. It's the time to be aggressive and MAKE SURE that you win now. We're in the most aggressive sports market in the country. This franchise has the money. It's unclear if Arte Moreno is allowing Minasian to spend it, but if he is, the fans deserve better than what he's given them this offseason.