The Los Angeles Angels are reportedly interested in signing catcher Gary Sanchez. With the Angels catching situation being a little up in the air, I can understand why they'd do this. A Sanchez signing means Logan O'Hoppe begins the season in AAA which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how ready he actually is. While this is something to keep an eye on, O'Hoppe wouldn't be the only one affected by this signing.
The Angels have other holes on this roster that they'd benefit greatly from addressing. The shortstop position is very underwhelming with David Fletcher and his subpar bat and Luis Rengifo with his subpar glove likely filling that role. The bullpen, despite the Carlos Estevez addition, is still very much a question mark. The rotation, despite Tyler Anderson joining, could definitely use another arm.
A Gary Sanchez signing might preclude the Angels from adding in bigger areas of need.
Tim Britton of The Athletic (subscription required) gave contract projections for some free agents in early November. Among the free agents he gave predictions for was Brandon Drury. He guessed he'd get two years and $17 million dollars, and ended up being right on the money. His prediction for Gary Sanchez was two years and $18 million dollars. While I personally can't see him getting a second guaranteed year, especially from the Angels with O'Hoppe close and Stassi already locked up, the AAV is probably right.
Let's say Sanchez gets $9 million dollars. The Angels projected Luxury Tax Payroll is at around $219 million dollars. With the first luxury tax threshold at $233 million dollars, that means the Angels have roughly $14 million dollars to spend before hitting that number. A Sanchez signing brings that number down to just $5 million.
There is not a single MLB-caliber starting pitcher the Angels can sign for $5 million dollars. Two of the very few free agents worth pursuing for a rotation spot Michael Wacha and Zack Greinke would both likely require more. Wacha will be much more, Greinke probably just a little.
It's possible the Angels sign Sanchez and a decent reliever, but a Sanchez signing takes them out of the running for guys like Andrew Chafin and Michael Fulmer.
Of course, the easy solution here would be for Arte Moreno to actually go into the tax and just force the next owner to pay it but with uncertainty as to whether the team will actually be sold by Opening Day like Rob Manfred hopes, that's definitely unlikely. If he would go into the tax, it wouldn't be for a player of Sanchez's caliber. It'd likely have to be for a star player which isn't available on the free agent market right now.
With that being said, I think signing a veteran catcher to compete with O'Hoppe for a roster spot is a good thing. Do I think it should be instead of signing a starter and/or a reliever? Absolutely not. Signing Sanchez to a minor league deal makes all the sense in the world, but he'd likely require guaranteed money. With the Angels not having much of that to spend, they're better off bringing in a veteran on a minor-league deal and just seeing if O'Hoppe is ready while addressing the other more pressing needs this roster has.