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Playing for Next Year and Beyond - Some Ideas


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The nice win aside, unless the Angels go on a hot streak they really should be preparing to spend the second half of this short season playing for 2021 and beyond. What does that mean? Seeing what they have, and thus getting a sense of what they need. Let's take a look at the team, section by section, to get a sense of things.

Starting Pitching: It started promising but has dropped off--except for Bundy. Even if he drops a bit, there's reason to believe that he's finally become a good #2-3 and the Angels should try to lock him up in the offseason, as he only has one year of club control left in 2021. Heaney and Canning look mediocre and probably can't be counted on to be better than #4s. Canning in particular is disappointing: I just don't see him having the stuff or backbone to be the #2-3 we hoped for, but obviously there's time. I actually like Sandoval better than either of them, at least in terms of his mentality on the mound. But in Heaney, Canning, and Sandoval, the Angels have three solid #4s, and at least one (Canning) has the potential to be better. Oh yeah, Julio Teheran is awful.

I don't think the Angels should give up on Ohtani as a starter, especially given that his offense continues to backslide. As far as the rotation in 2021 is concerned, I wouldn't count on him; meaning, any offseason plans shouldn't really factor him in. 

On the farm, Chris Rodriguez, Jose Suarez, Jose Soriano, and the forgotten Jaime Barria, all provide depth that could contribute in 2021. And, of course, there's Detmers and a few others. But I wouldn't expect any of them to be major contributors right away, although I think Rodriguez and Detmers could develop to major league ready very quickly, and Suarez and Soriano still have potential.

Taking everything into account, the Angels need two starters. I'd go hard after Bauer or Gausman, but also take a serious look at Odorizzi, Paxton, Ray, Stroman, Walker, etc, or hope for another Bundy-esque gift - but only as a second starter. They really, really need a Bauer, with Gausman as a nice consolation prize; if they get one of those guys, they can go cheap on the second option and hope the young guys develop.

Catcher: The duo of Castro-Stassi has been pretty good this year.  Even though Stassi has tailed off a bit, there's enough promise to hope he's a late bloomer as a Travis d'Arnaud type and may even be able to carry a semi-regular role. But I'd be tempted to bring back Castro for another year, or someone similar. I'd love to see them go after Realmuto, but they need to spend their money on pitching.

First Base: What a Flustercuck. With "playing for the future" in mind, Pujols shouldn't be getting too many starts. I'd like to see Simba back at SS for another year at least, so with Fletcher at 2B that means La Stella as the primary 1B in 2021. Ward and Walsh don't seem like major leaguers to me, but I'd like to see Thaiss given more regular playing time. I think there's a decent major leaguer there, but he needs playing time. 

Second Base: Fletcher belongs here--he's elite defensively here, merely decent to goodish at SS. He also works as a super UT, but I think will perform better with a regular gig. Rengifo, like Adell, doesn't look like a big leaguer, but there's a solid ballplayer there - in time. I think he's going to sneak up on us in the next year or two and be a quality super UT.

Shortstop: Simba will get his job back when he's healthy. Pretty much regardless of how he plays this year, the Angels should make him a qualifying offer in the offseason. If he accepts, it is a win-win: the Angels get another year of his defense and maybe a resurgence with the bat, and Simba gets a chance to rebuild his value for a bigger pay day after 2021; if he says no, they get a compensation pick. I think he'd accept. If he leaves, Fletcher can handle the job, with La Stella at 2B and Rengifo the UT, and Pujols/Thaiss/Marsh at 1B.

Third Base: Rendon is a stud. He's hitting .238 yet is still 7th in MLB WAR, despite missing the first few games.

Left Field: Now's the time to see if Upton can find his bat. Give Upton the starts and see what happens. If he doesn't start hitting, bring Marsh up. I think he'll adjust more quickly than Adell. Upton will then have the offseason to ponder how he salvages his career and will go into Spring Training with competition for the starting job.

Center Field: I am a tiny bit concerned. I know, 10 HR and a .700 SLG. But that's it: he's not walking and he's not hitting 2Bs or 3Bs, which means not a lot of line drives. My worry is that he's turning into an all-or-nothing guy. I'm not that worried yet, but there is the possibility that he turns into a .270/40 HR guy sooner than we think. But he's going to be really good no matter what, I just hope we have a few years at least of the peak offensive Trout that we've seen since 2017.

Right Field: The term "cheap quality labor" comes to mind. We're all looking forward to the major league version of Jo Adell, but Brian Goodwin's performance makes the wait palatable - and he's under club control for two more years. Until at least one of Marsh or Adell breakthrough, he has more value to the team than in trade. He might be a trade candidate next July.

DH: I've voiced my concerns about Ohtani elsewhere: I don't like what I see when he steps to the plate, and the numbers reflect that. He still has the upside, but it seems pitchers have figured him out and he hasn't adjusted. There's still a great hitter there, but we're not seeing it yet. If he resumes his pitching career, the rest of the starts can be sprinkled in as rest days for position players.

Bullpen: Such a mess. The Dipoto legacy of "just put something together" has never worked, and still isn't working. The basic approach of "See what parts you have for 2021" apply most obviously to the bullpen, but this offseason some money needs to be spent. To some extent the Angels could focus on acquiring starters, and then fill out their bullpen with up-and-coming pitchers like Suarez, C Rod, and Soriano - in addition to Pena, Buttrey, and whoever else is halfway decent this year. 

I think the problems with the pen and largely a reflection of how poor the Angels have been at developing pitching prospects. Hopefully that will change.

 

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5 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

The nice win aside, unless the Angels go on a hot streak they really should be preparing to spend the second half of this short season playing for 2021 and beyond. What does that mean? Seeing what they have, and thus getting a sense of what they need. Let's take a look at the team, section by section, to get a sense of things.

Starting Pitching: It started promising but has dropped off--except for Bundy. Even if he drops a bit, there's reason to believe that he's finally become a good #2-3 and the Angels should try to lock him up in the offseason, as he only has one year of club control left in 2021. Heaney and Canning look mediocre and probably can't be counted on to be better than #4s. Canning in particular is disappointing: I just don't see him having the stuff or backbone to be the #2-3 we hoped for, but obviously there's time. I actually like Sandoval better than either of them, at least in terms of his mentality on the mound. But in Heaney, Canning, and Sandoval, the Angels have three solid #4s, and at least one (Canning) has the potential to be better. Oh yeah, Julio Teheran is awful.

I don't think the Angels should give up on Ohtani as a starter, especially given that his offense continues to backslide. As far as the rotation in 2021 is concerned, I wouldn't count on him; meaning, any offseason plans shouldn't really factor him in. 

On the farm, Chris Rodriguez, Jose Suarez, Jose Soriano, and the forgotten Jaime Barria, all provide depth that could contribute in 2021. And, of course, there's Detmers and a few others. But I wouldn't expect any of them to be major contributors right away, although I think Rodriguez and Detmers could develop to major league ready very quickly, and Suarez and Soriano still have potential.

Taking everything into account, the Angels need two starters. I'd go hard after Bauer or Gausman, but also take a serious look at Odorizzi, Paxton, Ray, Stroman, Walker, etc, or hope for another Bundy-esque gift - but only as a second starter. They really, really need a Bauer, with Gausman as a nice consolation prize; if they get one of those guys, they can go cheap on the second option and hope the young guys develop.

Catcher: The duo of Castro-Stassi has been pretty good this year.  Even though Stassi has tailed off a bit, there's enough promise to hope he's a late bloomer as a Travis d'Arnaud type and may even be able to carry a semi-regular role. But I'd be tempted to bring back Castro for another year, or someone similar. I'd love to see them go after Realmuto, but they need to spend their money on pitching.

First Base: What a Flustercuck. With "playing for the future" in mind, Pujols shouldn't be getting too many starts. I'd like to see Simba back at SS for another year at least, so with Fletcher at 2B that means La Stella as the primary 1B in 2021. Ward and Walsh don't seem like major leaguers to me, but I'd like to see Thaiss given more regular playing time. I think there's a decent major leaguer there, but he needs playing time. 

Second Base: Fletcher belongs here--he's elite defensively here, merely decent to goodish at SS. He also works as a super UT, but I think will perform better with a regular gig. Rengifo, like Adell, doesn't look like a big leaguer, but there's a solid ballplayer there - in time. I think he's going to sneak up on us in the next year or two and be a quality super UT.

Shortstop: Simba will get his job back when he's healthy. Pretty much regardless of how he plays this year, the Angels should make him a qualifying offer in the offseason. If he accepts, it is a win-win: the Angels get another year of his defense and maybe a resurgence with the bat, and Simba gets a chance to rebuild his value for a bigger pay day after 2021; if he says no, they get a compensation pick. I think he'd accept. If he leaves, Fletcher can handle the job, with La Stella at 2B and Rengifo the UT, and Pujols/Thaiss/Marsh at 1B.

Third Base: Rendon is a stud. He's hitting .238 yet is still 7th in MLB WAR, despite missing the first few games.

Left Field: Now's the time to see if Upton can find his bat. Give Upton the starts and see what happens. If he doesn't start hitting, bring Marsh up. I think he'll adjust more quickly than Adell. Upton will then have the offseason to ponder how he salvages his career and will go into Spring Training with competition for the starting job.

Center Field: I am a tiny bit concerned. I know, 10 HR and a .700 SLG. But that's it: he's not walking and he's not hitting 2Bs or 3Bs, which means not a lot of line drives. My worry is that he's turning into an all-or-nothing guy. I'm not that worried yet, but there is the possibility that he turns into a .270/40 HR guy sooner than we think. But he's going to be really good no matter what, I just hope we have a few years at least of the peak offensive Trout that we've seen since 2017.

Right Field: The term "cheap quality labor" comes to mind. We're all looking forward to the major league version of Jo Adell, but Brian Goodwin's performance makes the wait palatable - and he's under club control for two more years. Until at least one of Marsh or Adell breakthrough, he has more value to the team than in trade. He might be a trade candidate next July.

DH: I've voiced my concerns about Ohtani elsewhere: I don't like what I see when he steps to the plate, and the numbers reflect that. He still has the upside, but it seems pitchers have figured him out and he hasn't adjusted. There's still a great hitter there, but we're not seeing it yet. If he resumes his pitching career, the rest of the starts can be sprinkled in as rest days for position players.

Bullpen: Such a mess. The Dipoto legacy of "just put something together" has never worked, and still isn't working. The basic approach of "See what parts you have for 2021" apply most obviously to the bullpen, but this offseason some money needs to be spent. To some extent the Angels could focus on acquiring starters, and then fill out their bullpen with up-and-coming pitchers like Suarez, C Rod, and Soriano - in addition to Pena, Buttrey, and whoever else is halfway decent this year. 

I think the problems with the pen and largely a reflection of how poor the Angels have been at developing pitching prospects. Hopefully that will change.

 

Your pitching assessment is right on.  You must plan as if Ohtani isn’t going to occupy a prevalent role at or near the top of the rotation.  

This leaves the same obvious vacancy we have seen for years.  The Angels need a bonafide #1 starter.

I know that resources are not unlimited so maybe it isn’t realistic to land a bonafide #1 and a #2. That’s fine.  

But get the #1.  I really don’t see that failing to do this is any kind of a real plan to win.

The rest of the team can fairly easily fall into place.  There will be imperfections but no team is perfect.  Frankly as long as Adell just “gets the job done” and Upton isn’t terrible (both things are not big stretches), then the offense is more than good enough.

But you gotta address this obvious vacancy at the top of the rotation.  Have to.

 

 

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2021 won’t be much different. The roster changes through attrition won’t happen soon enough to reap the rewards of having the best player in baseball on the roster. Ohtani might end up being a complete bust if his arm is shot and if he continues to get owned at the plate. The two way star player from Japan that we all thought would be an MVP type may end up being a no way player in MLB. I just hope that the organization figures him out sooner than later. 

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4 hours ago, Dtwncbad said:

Your pitching assessment is right on.  You must plan as if Ohtani isn’t going to occupy a prevalent role at or near the top of the rotation.  

This leaves the same obvious vacancy we have seen for years.  The Angels need a bonafide #1 starter.

I know that resources are not unlimited so maybe it isn’t realistic to land a bonafide #1 and a #2. That’s fine.  

But get the #1.  I really don’t see that failing to do this is any kind of a real plan to win.

The rest of the team can fairly easily fall into place.  There will be imperfections but no team is perfect.  Frankly as long as Adell just “gets the job done” and Upton isn’t terrible (both things are not big stretches), then the offense is more than good enough.

But you gotta address this obvious vacancy at the top of the rotation.  Have to.

 

 

Take a look at Kevin Gausman. Trevor Bauer is the only bonafide ace available so will be paid a huge—maybe prohibitive—amount. Gausman will also get paid, but maybe half as much for more than half the return. But I agree: the Angels need a #1-2 starter. If Bundy maintains most of his performance level, a Bauer-Bundy tandem would be great. But Gausman-Bundy will be pretty good.

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Funny you memtioned that about Trout @Angelsjunky. I was thinking the same the other night. Not complaining at all, just that hes turned into this pure slugger, hitting one a game almost. Then a walk, but not the multi hit guy we're so used to.

Again, not complaining so much. I just liked the other version more i think.

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14 hours ago, JustATroutFan said:

I won’t even judge Trout’s performance as a hitter until the next time we have a 162-game season. This season is just a whatever. 60 games, just stupid to judge players, especially with no fans in the stands to give them extra motivation and advantage.

i tend to agree with this.

On the one hand, the dodgers and yankees are killing it... so the no spring training isnt really an excuse.

But on the other hand, f*ck... i cant really judge any athlete this year.

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21 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

Take a look at Kevin Gausman. Trevor Bauer is the only bonafide ace available so will be paid a huge—maybe prohibitive—amount. Gausman will also get paid, but maybe half as much for more than half the return. But I agree: the Angels need a #1-2 starter. If Bundy maintains most of his performance level, a Bauer-Bundy tandem would be great. But Gausman-Bundy will be pretty good.

I understand what you are saying, but personally it frustrates me to constantly be defaulting to a plan B that simply doesn’t accomplish what needs to be accomplished.

The Angels don’t need a guy that maybe could be pretty good at a bargain rate compared to a legit #1.

They need a bonafide #1.

I understand the Angels can’t control the market.  But they are a big market team in this market.  Make a move that looks like it. How much are they spending on the starting rotation right now?

On this particular specific need, spend what you need to spend.  And that might be in dollars and it might be in prospect capital.

Its like you are building a car for a car show and you just need to do the engine right to win best in show.  And instead of just doing it right you are on Craigslist looking for a used engine in pretty good condition that will technically fit the engine mounts but really isn’t the right engine, thinking maybe you can still come in third and if the judges are drunk that day maybe you get lucky and win it.

I get the Twins doing this or the Royals doing it. But the Angels should not be doing this.

Go get exactly what you need.  

 

 

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Ok, well making a move that looks like we are a big market club probably isn’t Bauer.  I like the dude, I think he is a good pitcher, but is he even close to an Ace?  Sure in this weird year he is dominating, but except for 2018 every year he has pitched his ERA is above 4, each and every year, he doesn’t even have a 3 ERA sprinkled in there.  This is his 9th season and he has been a frustrating pitcher  in 7 of those 9 seasons.  The good news is he wants one year contracts.  So you’d only be paying him for one mediocre or great year.  

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Knowing the Angels won’t blow this up and rebuild, and seeing this as maybe the best season to go all out for a playoff run with more teams getting in, then to me it makes sense to trade talent for Clevinger. He’s the ace the team needs. I wonder if the Angels have the players and boldness to do it. 

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23 hours ago, floplag said:

i think the idea of a true #1 ace type guy might be unrealistic, how many 30M contracts can one team actually support?
I would go the other way, good not great type guys.  With our lineup we dont really need guys with sub 2 ERA.
I would look at guys like Bauer, Stroman type guys

Trevor Bauer has a 0.68 ERA 

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4 minutes ago, angelsnationtalk said:

Trevor Bauer has a 0.68 ERA 

And one season of an ERA in the 2’s and  7 seasons in the 4’s.  Sure I’d take a chance on him but he’s absolutely a guy that could bring buyers remorse.
My question is would teams be willing to give up a pick for a guy that says he only wants to sign one year deals?  

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I do believe Bauer when he says he will do one year annual deals.  That guy is wired differently and beats to his own drum.  He's going to do that.  So while that sounds good for a team like the Angels in that you don't have to lock a guy up for 6-10 years, it means you will overpay for being one year.  That means the big spending rich teams that are true title contenders will even more so be after him.  I can't see him going to the Yanks due to Cole, but the Dodgers seem perfect since they love that concept of big $$$ with short-term -- how much better can you get than one year of ST.  There's also the issue of losing a draft pick for a guy around just one year (again, not a good thing for a team like the rebuilding Angels trying to build up the farm).

The FA just is not an option.  They need to commit to building the P from within.  Meanwhile continue to try to find some clean peanuts and reclamation projects for the current squad.  Any significant trades need to be for SPs that are on the rise (prospect for prospect) or guys in their 1-3rd season (costly in terms of prospect capital).

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Here's my take:

Catcher: I would extend Castro. Although we all know Arte Moreno has his eyes on Realmuto....

First Base: If this world didn't revolve around Arte acting as a GM then we'd have one of LaStella, Ward, Thaiss, Walsh or jesus even Marsh getting more reps there. 2021 will be.... interesting

Second Base: This is where LaStella should stay. If Rengifo can raise is baseball IQ and also hit the ball then he could eventually become the everyday guy. Side note: Aside from Pujols, Rengifo runs really weird.  

Shortstop: I'm sorry if I piss of Angels fans or huge Simba fans (which I am one of), but he's not worth a qualifying offer. Simmons is making $15M this season when technically his stats say he should be making no more than $10M. To offer him a raise of at least $2.8M is ridiculous. With that being said, Fletcher becomes the everyday shortstop. I think he gets better with time if he focuses on one position. Plus he's cheaper with a MUCH better bat.

Third Base: Anthony Rendon because he's good and will be owed a lot of money.... duh

Left Field: Justin Upton 🙃. I'd like to see Marsh called up very soon to get some serious reps in LF. Honestly, if he can get reps then that could make Goodwin become available via trade for bullpen help. Marsh could also force Upton to full time left bench.

Center Field: Mike Trout. Though I agree with some people in that his walk rates are lower (obviously they can't pitch around him with Rendon behind him). Only concerning thing for me is he's been HR or nothing. Which is fine cuz it's Mike Trout....

Right Field: Since 2020 is basically in the dumps, let Adell play every game. Let him go through the learning curves now where there is no pressure to make playoffs and no fans to entertain.

DH: Here's where Ohtani comes into play. He'd be a much better hitter if he'd stop moving his hips to first base every time he swings. If he stays in the box then he use all fields quite well. 

Bullpen: What bullpen? Although I still do like the combos of Buttrey, Robles, Middleton (despite him hating Angels fans). Perhaps bringing up some young arms could help. Also would be nice to get a veteran arm to lead these guys.

Starting Pitching: Here's the holes I see for the 2021 season: #1: nobody, #2: MAYBE Bundy, #3: Ohtani???, #4: Canning, #5: Heaney #6: Detmers.
Angels still have rotation question marks and now it's in spots 1-3.

ANGELS NEED PITCHING DEAR LORD FOR THE THOUSANDTH TIME.

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The most important thing is, we need a FULL season of MLB and MiLB in 2021.      MiLB players need the development and MLB players need the reps. 

This virus cannot still be a deterrent a year after the fact.  

And yeah, Upton is running out of time to produce anything.   They will likely keep him to start 2021, but two months has to be it to get started.

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43 minutes ago, angelsnationtalk said:

Here's my take:

Catcher: I would extend Castro. Although we all know Arte Moreno has his eyes on Realmuto....

First Base: If this world didn't revolve around Arte acting as a GM then we'd have one of LaStella, Ward, Thaiss, Walsh or jesus even Marsh getting more reps there. 2021 will be.... interesting

Second Base: This is where LaStella should stay. If Rengifo can raise is baseball IQ and also hit the ball then he could eventually become the everyday guy. Side note: Aside from Pujols, Rengifo runs really weird.  

Shortstop: I'm sorry if I piss of Angels fans or huge Simba fans (which I am one of), but he's not worth a qualifying offer. Simmons is making $15M this season when technically his stats say he should be making no more than $10M. To offer him a raise of at least $2.8M is ridiculous. With that being said, Fletcher becomes the everyday shortstop. I think he gets better with time if he focuses on one position. Plus he's cheaper with a MUCH better bat.

Third Base: Anthony Rendon because he's good and will be owed a lot of money.... duh

Left Field: Justin Upton 🙃. I'd like to see Marsh called up very soon to get some serious reps in LF. Honestly, if he can get reps then that could make Goodwin become available via trade for bullpen help. Marsh could also force Upton to full time left bench.

Center Field: Mike Trout. Though I agree with some people in that his walk rates are lower (obviously they can't pitch around him with Rendon behind him). Only concerning thing for me is he's been HR or nothing. Which is fine cuz it's Mike Trout....

Right Field: Since 2020 is basically in the dumps, let Adell play every game. Let him go through the learning curves now where there is no pressure to make playoffs and no fans to entertain.

DH: Here's where Ohtani comes into play. He'd be a much better hitter if he'd stop moving his hips to first base every time he swings. If he stays in the box then he use all fields quite well. 

Bullpen: What bullpen? Although I still do like the combos of Buttrey, Robles, Middleton (despite him hating Angels fans). Perhaps bringing up some young arms could help. Also would be nice to get a veteran arm to lead these guys.

Starting Pitching: Here's the holes I see for the 2021 season: #1: nobody, #2: MAYBE Bundy, #3: Ohtani???, #4: Canning, #5: Heaney #6: Detmers.
Angels still have rotation question marks and now it's in spots 1-3.

ANGELS NEED PITCHING DEAR LORD FOR THE THOUSANDTH TIME.

How do we know he has eyes on Realmuto?  I havent seen or read anything on that?  

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