The Los Angeles Angels roster will likely look pretty similar to the one that went 73-89 in 2022. Ideally, they'd upgrade the rotation and bullpen. They'd also look into upgrading the middle infield and left field.
The Angels are in a division with the Astros who aren't going anywhere anytime soon. They also have to deal with the resurgent Mariners. Even the Rangers spent big last offseason and might even do it again this offseason.
There are questions surrounding the landscape of this franchise. Will Arte Moreno own the team by Opening Day? Will Shohei Ohtani be an Angel?
Los Angeles Angels worst-case scenario Opening Day lineup for 2023
1. Taylor Ward - RF
2. Mike Trout - CF
3. Anthony Rendon - 3B
4. Jared Walsh - 1B
5. Luis Rengifo - DH
6. Jo Adell - LF
7. Max Stassi - C
8. Livan Soto - SS
9. David Fletcher - 2B
First of all, I will say it's very unlikely that this happens. I don't expect them to trade Ohtani, at least not yet. I also think it's very unlikely that they don't sign ANYBODY in free agency.
The top of this lineup is fine. Ward had an excellent 2022 and could be even better in 2023. Mike Trout is... Mike Trout. Anthony Rendon has had his struggles since signing his deal with the Angels but maybe this will be the year he finally breaks through and shows fans why he got the money he got.
After the top, things go downhill. This has been the Angels problem for years now, but usually the lineup falls apart midseason due to regression or injury.
In this hypothetical, Shohei Ohtani is traded for a haul of prospects as he refuses to extend and the Angels feel they have to get something for him. Trading Ohtani is absolutely the worst-case scenario.
Jared Walsh should be ready to play on Opening Day which is a great thing. He has a good shot at bouncing back after his surgery but hitting him cleanup obviously isn't great after what we just witnessed from him in 2022.
Luis Rengifo was a productive hitter but hasn't shown much outside of this past season and most definitely shouldn't be hitting fifth.
The bottom four shouldn't be in a lineup every day with the exception maybe of David Fletcher.
Jo Adell can make the Opening Day roster but it should be as a fourth outfielder. Max Stassi really struggled last season. The best case scenario would be Logan O'Hoppe winning the job out of Spring Training but again, this is the worst case.
Livan Soto I like, but hasn't had many at-bats and probably shouldn't be playing every day for a team trying to compete yet. David Fletcher is great defensively but his bat has to be much improved for him to be worthy of an everyday role.
Again, this will almost certainly not be the Opening Day lineup for the Angels. Even with Moreno looking to sell the Angels will do SOMETHING. Even if they trade Ohtani I expect the Angels to try to stay relevant.
If things do go horribly wrong for Los Angeles, this could be the lineup we see on Opening Day.