Los Angeles Angels fans are (not so) patiently waiting for Perry Minasian to make some moves. The team has roughly $70 million to play with before hitting the luxury tax threshold, found out that Shohei Ohtani was going to be joining the Dodgers weeks ago, and has done virtually nothing.
Three bargain-bin relievers on one-year contracts is certainly not enough for an Angels team that just lost Ohtani and won 73 games during their final season with him. Minasian deserves the benefit of the doubt as there are still plenty of high-level free agents left for the Angels to sign, but the longer we wait with no real plan in mind, the more frustrated Angels fans will become.
The best position player available with Ohtani off the board is Cody Bellinger, who was a rumored Toronto Blue Jays target. Bellinger made lots of sense for a Jays team that needed an outfielder and needed to add more power to their lineup, but Toronto opted to instead re-sign Kevin Kiermaier, completing their outfield trio. While this doesn't officially knock them out of the Bellinger sweepstakes, it takes them from the team that was considered by many to be the favorites to an unlikely destination.
The Jays could sign Bellinger to play first base or DH, but they've got Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at first base already and will likely not sign Bellinger to DH primarily. With the Jays likely not signing Bellinger and not many other teams rumored to be in on him, the Angels have an opportunity to swoop in and potentially sign the former MVP.
Latest Blue Jays move gives LA Angels an opportunity to sign Cody Bellinger
Bellinger on this Angels team is far from a perfect fit. He's most valuable in center field, but there's little chance Mike Trout will be moving to a corner outfield spot, at least this upcoming season. The Angels can put him in one of the corners, but are pretty set there with Taylor Ward, Mickey Moniak, and even Jo Adell slotted for the action there.
Bellinger is also an outstanding defender at first base, but Nolan Schanuel figures to earn a bulk of the action there. DH is the final option, but he's too good of a defender to put there. Frankly everyone mentioned is too good of a defender except for Schanuel, and the Angels won't want to DH a 21-year-old rookie.
While he's far from a perfect fit on the roster as currently constructed, the Angels can use a player like Ward or Moniak to trade for a pitcher and then insert Bellinger into the outfield. That's the likely scenario if they were to sign him.
Bellinger makes sense for this Angels team that needs another big bopper to put in the middle of the lineup. Ohtani left and the Angels have not replaced him yet. Bellinger is certainly not Ohtani, but he's arguably the closest to him offensively when right (which is a big if).
He makes sense, but comes with quite a bit of risk. He was outstanding this past season for the Cubs, but was horrific in each of his last two seasons with the Dodgers leading them to non-tender him ahead of the 2023 season. The Angels would be banking on Bellinger being the MVP-caliber player he's shown he can be on multiple occasions, while risking he's not among the worst hitters in baseball like he was for a two-year stretch.
Whether the Angels should or should not sign him is a legitimate argument. The Blue Jays signing Kiermaier making Bellinger unlikely for them opens the door for the Angels to potentially get in the bidding.