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Off Season Priorities


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Apologies if this topic has been discussed in depth lately.  
 

With the 4 Breakiut players combining with Trout, Ohtani, Rendon providing an encouraging nucleus, what are the compelling arguments for. The off season?

Starting pitching - currently “B”

Shortstop - “C-“

Left field - “C+”

Closer - “C”

Middle  relief - “B-“

Catcher - “D”

Manager - “B+”

Bottom half of line up - “F”

Which improvement opportunities will result in the highest “war”?  

For me, bringing the shortstop position to a B+ gives the most bang.   This means finding a .300 hitter than can field the position    Maybe it’s Fletch or Rengifo.  Maybe not.

Next would be a catcher.  Especially with the larger bases tempting more guys to steal, we need the next Johnny Bench   Great defense with some pop at the plate.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Swordsman78 said:

Apologies if this topic has been discussed in depth lately.  
 

With the 4 Breakiut players combining with Trout, Ohtani, Rendon providing an encouraging nucleus, what are the compelling arguments for. The off season?

Starting pitching - currently “B”

Shortstop - “C-“

Left field - “C+”

Closer - “C”

Middle  relief - “B-“

Catcher - “D”

Manager - “B+”

Bottom half of line up - “F”

Which improvement opportunities will result in the highest “war”?  

For me, bringing the shortstop position to a B+ gives the most bang.   This means finding a .300 hitter than can field the position    Maybe it’s Fletch or Rengifo.  Maybe not.

Next would be a catcher.  Especially with the larger bases tempting more guys to steal, we need the next Johnny Bench   Great defense with some pop at the plate.

 

 

I think those two positions are likely going to be covered in-house, just not in time for the 2023 season.  Neto and O'Hoppe are both very promising, but they likely aren't going to be MLB contributors until the end of 2023, or perhaps beginning of 2024.

For now, the middle infield looks like it could be okay next year - Fletcher and Rengifo should be adequate enough, and Soto has had a nice little debut so far and could be an upgrade over, say, Velazquez in terms of being a solid bench player.

Stassi was actually rather solid until this year, so I'm not ready to give up on him as a starter.  I do think Minasian will look for a veteran backup to pair with him.  Thaiss will probably be viewed as a third catcher, as well as a backup for 1B and 3B.

By 2024, hopefully Neto and O'Hoppe will establish themselves as regulars on the squad.

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1 hour ago, Taylor said:

At least two position players who aren't simply replacement level/journeyman types. 

Then, figuring out the bullpen.

Third, one more solid rotation arm.

I agree with this. SS and Catcher should be a priority followed by some pen arms and then another frontline starter. I don’t follow this stuff as closely as many others here do but what starting pitchers are available through free agency this coming up off-season?

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It is hard to know to what degree this will be a business-as-usual offseason, or if the Angels will be on hold until the ownership question is resolved. But assuming business-as-usual, I think there is a basic picture of needs, but variations on how to solve it.

For instance, we know the Angels will want to bolster the lineup. But they could do that by going after an elite shortstop and then a couple of bench guys, or they can go after two solid regulars (OF, MI). Meaning, will they go for one 4+ WAR guy and a couple 1 WAR guys, or two 2-3 WAR guys? And given the huge question mark of Adell/Moniak, do they spend bigger on a corner outfielder and go more of a depth route in the infield, or do they roll the dice on LF and bolster the infield with a star shortstop? Etc.

Some people aren't going to like hearing this, but I'm guessing that Minasian is looking at the last 26 games (14-12) and thinking, "This is the true talent level of the team." Maybe he'll adjust down a bit considering the overall performance, but I don't think he's looking at the Angels as a 65-70 win team, but more as an 80-85 win team -- as-is. And he isn't necessarily wrong, imo. Rengifo and, to some degree, Fletcher have at least somewhat solved the middle infield problems. Moniak has show flashes, and unless they've completely given up on Adell, it isn't impossible that they roll the dice on those two, especially if they improve in other areas. Ohtani has become a true ace, Sandoval established himself as a solid #2-3, Detmers and Suarez #3-4 with upside, and a bunch of prospects in the high minors - so they're in a better position with the rotation than last year, and probably only "need" one solid starter. This team is a lot more solid than it was a couple months ago.

Meaning, a lot of improvements can be made, but you approach the offseason differently if you expect a .500 team vs. expecting a .400 team, and I think Minasian sees it more as a .500 team.

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1 hour ago, Angelsjunky said:

It is hard to know to what degree this will be a business-as-usual offseason, or if the Angels will be on hold until the ownership question is resolved. But assuming business-as-usual, I think there is a basic picture of needs, but variations on how to solve it.

For instance, we know the Angels will want to bolster the lineup. But they could do that by going after an elite shortstop and then a couple of bench guys, or they can go after two solid regulars (OF, MI). Meaning, will they go for one 4+ WAR guy and a couple 1 WAR guys, or two 2-3 WAR guys? And given the huge question mark of Adell/Moniak, do they spend bigger on a corner outfielder and go more of a depth route in the infield, or do they roll the dice on LF and bolster the infield with a star shortstop? Etc.

Some people aren't going to like hearing this, but I'm guessing that Minasian is looking at the last 26 games (14-12) and thinking, "This is the true talent level of the team." Maybe he'll adjust down a bit considering the overall performance, but I don't think he's looking at the Angels as a 65-70 win team, but more as an 80-85 win team -- as-is. And he isn't necessarily wrong, imo. Rengifo and, to some degree, Fletcher have at least somewhat solved the middle infield problems. Moniak has show flashes, and unless they've completely given up on Adell, it isn't impossible that they roll the dice on those two, especially if they improve in other areas. Ohtani has become a true ace, Sandoval established himself as a solid #2-3, Detmers and Suarez #3-4 with upside, and a bunch of prospects in the high minors - so they're in a better position with the rotation than last year, and probably only "need" one solid starter. This team is a lot more solid than it was a couple months ago.

Meaning, a lot of improvements can be made, but you approach the offseason differently if you expect a .500 team vs. expecting a .400 team, and I think Minasian sees it more as a .500 team.

This is an excellent take.  The talent currently on the roster (when healthy) is much better than the record indicates.  They did improve as a whole since the start of the losing streak.  Pitchers got better, break out guys emerged.  Trout started hitting again.  etc.

I also like the mentality of the club.  This team battles.  I have  not seen any quit in them all year.

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I noticed that you didn't really mention 1B, (Walsh), and 3B (Rendon).  The team needs to figure out which version of Walsh is the real deal.

The All-Star from 2021, or the strikeout machine we saw this year.  Same for Rendon.  He hasn't come close to one healthy season with us since he signed that contract.  If he can get close to what he was producing in Washington, great.  If not, we will need a Drury type to handle 3B.  

Stassi needs to figure out what is with his swing.  The Stassi that hits .240-250 with the ability to drive the ball is great.  The one that we have now, not so much.  

Also, strikeouts need to be addressed.  We lead the league in striking out, by a considerable margin, last I checked.  Emphasis needs to be made on hitting the ball, putting it in play, and defeating the shifts being used against us.  Ohtani is improving in this area, and he is looking for pitches to drive to the opposite field. 

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30 minutes ago, eligrba said:

Minasian needs to somehow reduce the dramatic difference in performance when bench players fill in for injured players. I’m more worried about the overall roster than about the starters.

This is a good point.  The Angels are currently very "thin".  Guys are going to get hurt during the year, and there needs to be adequate fill ins.

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39 minutes ago, AngelStew43 said:

I noticed that you didn't really mention 1B, (Walsh), and 3B (Rendon).  The team needs to figure out which version of Walsh is the real deal.

The All-Star from 2021, or the strikeout machine we saw this year.  Same for Rendon.  He hasn't come close to one healthy season with us since he signed that contract.  If he can get close to what he was producing in Washington, great.  If not, we will need a Drury type to handle 3B.  

Stassi needs to figure out what is with his swing.  The Stassi that hits .240-250 with the ability to drive the ball is great.  The one that we have now, not so much.  

Also, strikeouts need to be addressed.  We lead the league in striking out, by a considerable margin, last I checked.  Emphasis needs to be made on hitting the ball, putting it in play, and defeating the shifts being used against us.  Ohtani is improving in this area, and he is looking for pitches to drive to the opposite field. 

I agree re: Walsh, but the problem is that they can't figure that out during the offseason, and I doubt they're ready to give up on him yet. At most/worst, they might consider platoon options, and Thaiss might fit that bill. Or they might look for a bat-first infielder who can also hand 3B and/or 2B, and go with a platoon.

Similarly with Rendon, although with him it is less about performance and more about health. They might be thinking, "We hope for 140 games, will be happy with 120, but will plan for 80." So again, platoon options. Building a better bench, basically.

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I'm operating on assumptions that aren't necessarily correct or incorrect, but at the moment, seem likely. 

Assumption 1: Shohei Ohtani will not re-up with the Angels. So this leaves a couple options. First, they can try to compete in 2023 with him, and if it doesn't work, flip him at the deadline or give him a QO. Option two, they trade him, and get enough talent to reshape the future of this franchise. I'd prefer two, but my feeling is it'll be one. 

Assumption 2: There's enough talent and depth in the middle infield and third base that there's little reason to invest money there. Fletcher and Rengifo are solid up the middle. They're tied to Rendon at 3B, whether they like it or not. Neto, Jackson and Paris are all in AA, are all high draft picks and all have upside. Let that situation play out.

Assumption 3: There's enough depth in terms of starting pitchers that any starter they look at acquiring needs to be more of a front of the rotation type, not back end. Barria could step in and be your #6 starter. Guys like Silseth, Bush, Erla and Bachman shouldn't be counted on in 2023, but if they breakout, you certainly don't impede their path. Basically I'm saying, if they want to contend, then spend money and contend. But Lorenzen and Syndergaard type of starters just kind of kick the can down the road. 

Assumption 4: Stassi is a good defender and anything he contributes offensively is just a bonus. But Thaiss and O'Hoppe are the immediate future behind the plate for 2023 and beyond, and they also have Quero who was incredible this season. 

So given these assumptions, if it were me, I would....

1. Trade Ohtani for a front line pitching prospect, an elite outfield prospect and a big time slugging corner infield prospect

2. Upgrade at first base. That should be easy to come by. There are a lot of them out there. Keep Walsh, but he has to earn his way back to the majors. Put him in Salt Lake. 

3. Upgrade in LF on a 1-2 year contract so that Moniak can serve as the 4th outfielder, a role that suits him for now, and Adell can be in AAA, a level he still hasn't had much success at. 

Now, as to how this answers the original question, about priorities. The top priority should be either trading Ohtani or signing him long term. That will ultimately dictate whether we're all in for 2023 and 2024, or if we're reloading for 2025 and beyond. But the worst thing the Angels can do right now is continue in this perpetual state of mediocrity. 

Edited by Second Base
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41 minutes ago, eligrba said:

Minasian needs to somehow reduce the dramatic difference in performance when bench players fill in for injured players. I’m more worried about the overall roster than about the starters.

@Docwaukee warned us of this before the season started, and it was worse than even he feared. But yeah, the Angels could come up for adequate fill-ins for Fletcher, Rendon, Trout, Ward (when he was hurt/sucked), and this was compounded by Walsh and Stassi regressing and Adell and Marsh disappointing. Minasian rolled the dice on "stars and scrubs" and it was a disaster.

The good news is that the same core is present, and it looks like Ward is bouncing back to being a legit plus bat. So the Angels have most of a good lineup for next year, but need to both address the soft underbelly and have better bench options.

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2 minutes ago, Second Base said:

I'm operating on assumptions that aren't necessarily correct or incorrect, but at the moment, seem likely. 

Assumption 1: Shohei Ohtani will not re-up with the Angels. So this leaves a couple options. First, they can try to compete in 2023 with him, and if it doesn't work, flip him at the deadline or give him a QO. Option two, they trade him, and get enough talent to reshape the future of this franchise. I'd prefer two, but my feeling is it'll be one. 

Assumption 2: There's enough talent and depth in the middle infield and third base that there's little reason to invest money there. Fletcher and Rengifo are solid up the middle. They're tied to Rendon at 3B, whether they like it or not. Neto, Jackson and Paris are all in AA, are all high draft picks and all have upside. Let that situation play out.

Assumption 3: There's enough depth in terms of starting pitchers that any starter they look at acquiring needs to be more of a front of the rotation type, not back end. Barria could step in and be your #6 starter. Guys like Silseth, Bush, Erla and Bachman shouldn't be counted on in 2023, but if they breakout, you certainly don't impede their path. Basically I'm saying, if they want to contend, then spend money and contend. But Lorenzen and Syndergaard type of starters just kind of kick the can down the road. 

So given these assumptions, if it were me, I would....

1. Trade Ohtani for a front line pitching prospect, an elite outfield prospect and a big time slugging corner infield prospect

2. Upgrade at first base. That should be easy to come by. There are a lot of them out there. Keep Walsh, but he has to earn his way back to the majors. Put him in Salt Lake. 

3. Upgrade in LF on a 1-2 year contract so that Moniak can serve as the 4th outfielder, a role that suits him for now, and Adell can be in AAA, a level he still hasn't had much success at. 

Now, as to how this answers the original question, about priorities. The top priority should be either trading Ohtani or signing him long term. That will ultimately dictate whether we're all in for 2023 and 2024, or if we're reloading for 2025 and beyond. But the worst thing the Angels can do right now is continue in this perpetual state of mediocrity. 

A good take, with some caveats.

The problem is getting that right package that justifies trading a historic talent. And let's also consider recent events. Presumably Arte had already decided to sell the Angels when the trade deadline rolled around this year. The fact that Ohtani wasn't traded implies one or both of two things: 1) Arte felt that Shohei increased the value of the team enough to keep him, and 2) The Angels weren't offered an offer they couldn't refuse (like the one you hypothesize). Assuming the sale doesn't go down until late in the offseason at the earliest, chances are Ohtani won't be traded before the year starts, and that means he probably won't be traded--if at all--until the deadline, and while I do think the Angels would still get a good prospect or three, it won't be what you are asking for. 

And more to the point, we just don't know what the new owner will want. Maybe he/she/they will open up the purse-strings and make Shohei an offer he can't refuse (say, 8/$400M with an opt-out after two years), or maybe they look at the org and decide a rebuild is in order. 

As far as not signing a top shortstop, I'm veering in this direction too, which is why I think a solid bench/platoon signing is likely - sort of like a Tommy La Stella type: a bat first, but adequate defender, and someone who isn't going to utterly embarrass himself as a starter. But I don't think they'll stand pat. I think Rengifo's breakout is legit and Fletcher will be closer to 2018-19 than 2021, and Soto has show promise, but it is still paper-think, and I don't think any of the prospects you mention are immediate solutions. I'm not convinced that Jackson will be a major league regular, and if he is it won't be for a couple more years. Neto might need at least another half year in the minors, if not more; Paris a lot more time - maybe two years, or at least a year and a half (I see a late season 2024 call-up at the very earliest for Kyren). So at the least, they'll want to bolster the bench depth with quality pieces.

In that regard, I think 1B will be bolstered through other players - guys who can hit and play multiple positions, not necessarily a true first baseman.

As for the OF, I agree, which is why I'm a bit fixated on Michael Conforto. Because of his injury, he'll probably accept a "prove it" contract. And the upside is there, or at least not too far in the distant past. There are some other solid options, but most will require 3+ year contracts. 

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2 hours ago, Swordsman78 said:

I also like the mentality of the club.  This team battles.  I have  not seen any quit in them all year.

You must’ve missed the 14 game losing streak.

I’m not saying they quit then, but a team that “battles” finds a way to win at least 1 out of 14 games.

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7 minutes ago, Trendon said:

You must’ve missed the 14 game losing streak.

I’m not saying they quit then, but a team that “battles” finds a way to win at least 1 out of 14 games.

That is true.  Not sure what the problem was during that bad streak.  Probably a combination of factors.  Talent on the field being a main factor.

I was more referring to the level of effort AFTER the losing streaks and when they were basically out of contention.

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3 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

I'm guessing that Minasian is looking at the last 26 games (14-12)

A 65 wRC+ for 5-9 during that stretch.  A 59 before that.  If he can't see what this team needs then I have no hope for him whatsoever.   Trout was on fire for a decent portion of that and Ward has been much better.   And I continue to caution everyone on Regifo's 'breakout' with a 3% walk rate.  I'm really happy about it btw, just that I'm not sure I'm going into 2023 without some sort of safety net.  Especially because I really don't trust Fletcher as anything more than a util.  

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2 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

I agree re: Walsh, but the problem is that they can't figure that out during the offseason, and I doubt they're ready to give up on him yet. At most/worst, they might consider platoon options, and Thaiss might fit that bill. Or they might look for a bat-first infielder who can also hand 3B and/or 2B, and go with a platoon.

Similarly with Rendon, although with him it is less about performance and more about health. They might be thinking, "We hope for 140 games, will be happy with 120, but will plan for 80." So again, platoon options. Building a better bench, basically.

The problem with penciling Thaiss into a role for next year is that he just isn’t an MLB caliber baseball player.

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The ideal offseason would be;

Correa, yes there is baggage attached due to the cheating scandal. But you can not ignore the talent. It'll be interesting to see how the SS market will be in the offseason; but a 6/7 yr contract worth 25/26 is a case to get him. 

Than focus on the pitching side, I'd go with a homerun here as well;

Rodon; 5yr wort 125 mil. 

Starting Rotation;

1. Othani

2. Rodon

3. Sandy

4. Detmers

5. Suarez

6. Fight for it. 

Lineup;

1. Rengifo ss

2, Trout CF

3. Correa; SS

4. Othani Dh

5. Rendon: 3rd

6. Ward Rf

7. Walsh: 1st

8. Stassi

9. Flecther, Adell, Moniak 

 

Hopefully, we get a owners that's will to spend and go over the Tax. If not, this isn't happening...

 

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