The Los Angeles Angels lost Shohei Ohtani to the Dodgers, leaving many to wonder what the plan would be for this team. Would they finally enter a rebuild with Ohtani gone? Would they go all-in to try and win in 2024? Both of those would've made sense, but the Angels have done neither. They haven't done anything to make anyone think they'd entertain a rebuild, and they haven't signed any major free agents either.
There's still time for the Angels to make some moves, but The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal (subscription required) seems to rule out a specific move that would've made sense with Ohtani gone. The Angels made sense as a potential destination for J.D. Martinez since Ohtani, the team's DH, left in free agency, but the Angels reportedly don't want the DH spot to be locked down.
This makes some sense considering the injury histories of Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. The Angels are hoping those two players in particular DH often and can stay healthy as a result of that.
Latest Angels rumors essentially rule them out of J.D. Martinez sweepstakes
"As for offense, the Angels are reluctant to enter the DH market, preferring to leave that spot open for Trout, Rendon and others. In particular, they need protection for Rendon, who has appeared in only 23 percent of the team’s games the past three seasons."- Ken Rosenthal - The Athletic
While the Angels could be right passing on Martinez to leave the DH spot open, choosing to not pursue arguably the best pure hitter left could be a decision they wind up regretting. Martinez last season with the Dodgers posted an .893 OPS and hit 33 home runs with 103 RBI in just 113 games played. Sure, he probably won't be that good in 2024, but even if his OPS dips by 50 points he'll still be a possible all-star.
The Angels are in serious need of a middle-of-the-order bat in the wake of Ohtani's departure. They do have good hitters like Trout and Brandon Drury who can hit in the middle of the order but that's really it. Adding Martinez would make this Angels lineup exponentially better.
While Martinez feels like he's not a realistic option for the Angels anymore, players like Justin Turner, Jorge Soler, or even Joc Pederson who can step in and play a position a couple times per week and allow Trout and Rendon to get their DH games make a lot of sense.
The Angels will be fine passing on Martinez if they land a different middle-of-the-order bat who can play a position. However, if they fail to do that and make Enrique Hernandez or anyone of his caliber their best position player addition, that'd be a major mistake.