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The Future of the Angels Outfield




By Jonathan Northrop, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer

The emergence of Taylor Ward as an elite hitter--as well as the slow development of Adell--has put a bit of a crimp in the Angels outfield outlook. Before the year, it was reasonable to assume that the Angels would platoon Ward, Marsh, and Adell in the corner spots, and let them hack it out for playing time all year long. Even last year, I presented various configurations on how the Angels could platoon Marsh and Adell with Upton, assuming Ward would be a bench guy. But Ward wasn't having any of it, and Adell is now in AAA.

But here's another "problem": Adell is absolutely crushing AAA pitching. He just hit an HR in his first AB tonight and is hitting .500 with 3 HR in four games. Oh yeah, he walked 4 times yesterday.

So the Angels have a "problem" - both in the near and long-term future: How to get Adell back in the lineup, when he's ready? Be that in a month or next year, it is going to happen. 

Ward is already 28, but is under club control through 2026 - that's 4.8 seasons of cheap offensive firepower, even if he chills out and becomes a more garden variety borderline star hitter in the 130-140 wRC+ range (and at this point, he could be a true 150+ wRC star).

Marsh (24) is under club-control through 2027, and Adell (23) through 2026. Meaning, basically all the same.

I know this question is unanswerable, but how do you see this playing out? Will the Angels trade one in July for another pitcher or a middle infielder? Or do they stash Adell in AAA all year until someone gets injured and/or go back to a platoon with Marsh? 

One other factor to consider is that Walsh is under club control through 2025, and had significant trade value so could also be traded and Ward moved to 1B. But that seems less likely.

It is a good problem to have, but hard to get my mind around - as far as what the Angels are likely to do.

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If I were in Perry’s position, I would not do anything hasty. If one of Trout, Ward or Marsh have injury issues, bring up Adell if he seems ready for another run at it. If he is not, bring up a Lagares type to fill the void, or whoever is best candidate. I would not be quick to trade Adell. Need to maintain quality depth in the OF so we don’t have to press Whitefields into service before they are ready. I’m glad Perry has been reluctant to trade away young developing talent. If Adell becomes a beast, approaching Trout and Ward 2022 performance level, it just means more frequent days off for all of them as long as all remain healthy. Nothing wrong with that. It’s rare to go through an entire season without significant injury absences from the top 4 outfielders, so might as well be prepared for it.

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