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OC Register: Angels Q&A: Assessing some of the roster decisions ahead


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TEMPE, Ariz. — The Angels finally hit the first off day in their spring training schedule on Wednesday, just more than two weeks away from Opening Day.

That provides a convenient moment to stop and assess where they stand in the decisions they face with the roster.

Manager Phil Nevin has repeatedly said the Angels will take the best players, regardless of external factors or expectations. He’s also said that there is more to put into the equations than simply who has the best numbers in Cactus League games.

That leaves us with a whole bunch of uncertainty, evident by the questions that readers asked this week on Twitter and Facebook and the answers – or best guesses – that we’re providing here.

Q: With (Mickey) Moniak showing up this spring, what will the Angels do with their outfield? Doesn’t make sense to keep (Jo) Adell around any longer, does it? — Sean Nelson

A: Moniak was expected to start the season at Triple-A, with Brett Phillips as the fourth outfielder, but Moniak is certainly giving the Angels something to think about. He has shown the best combination of offense and defense among the three candidates for that job: Moniak, Phillips and Adell.

That being said, teams go by much more than spring training to make these decisions. Over the span of their major league careers, none of the three has hit much, but Phillips is an elite defender.

As for Adell, he can be optioned so there’s no reason at all to give up on him. He’s still 23.

The Angels might determine that, in the long run, the best solution is to have both Moniak and Adell playing every day in Triple-A, with Phillips sitting on the bench in the majors.

Q: Is there a possibility that the Angels run 5 LHP SP? Or do we see (Griffin) Canning/(Jaime) Barria/(Chase) Silseth get the last spot? Tucker (Davidson) has looked real good this spring! — @HalosBaseball

A: At this moment, the left-handed Davidson might actually be the leading candidate for the sixth spot, because he’s pitched well and he’s out of options. Barria, a righty, is also out of options, but he has more bullpen experience so the Angels might just keep him there.

If Davidson is the sixth starter, that would give the Angels a rotation with five lefties and one righty. Another righty would be nice, but the Angels are not going to prioritize that over who they believe is pitching the best.

Remember, the competition doesn’t end once the Opening Day roster is set. They will move players up and down all season, because of performance and injuries.

Q: Realistically, is (Luis) Rengifo the starting SS or will we see more from (Gio) Urshela/(David) Fletcher in some fashion — @_MichaelSteinke

A: It’s hard to predict what the Angels are going to do at shortstop, even after a couple of weeks of exhibition games.

The best defensive shortstop is Andrew Velazquez, but he might not even be on the team unless someone gets hurt or the Angels keep seven infielders.

Among the top six who are expected to be there, Fletcher is the best defensively. Rengifo or Urshela offers the best combination of offense and defense.

The only certainty is that there won’t be a single everyday shortstop.

Q: Is (Ben) Joyce making the team? — @HaloHangover

A: Joyce hasn’t allowed a run yet in five innings he’s pitched, four in Cactus League games and one in an exhibition against Team USA. The Angels seem intent on putting him into spots to see what he can do. He still has just half a season of professional experience amounting to just 14 innings at Double-A, so it would still be no surprise if they took the conservative route and let him see what he can do in the minors for a little longer before bringing him up.

Also, the Angels don’t want to have him in the majors if they have to manage his workload more than the other relievers. (Remember how the Angels used Chris Rodriguez in 2021, giving him at least two days off after every game he pitched?) Joyce still has not pitched on back-to-back days in spring training, or even with just one day between outings. If the Angels have him do that in the final weeks of spring training, it would be a good indication that they’re getting him ready to be in the majors.

Q: Presuming they do well in the first half, who could you envision being a good add via trade? Pure speculation, obviously we won’t know who’s available til later — @DrScottFreeman

A: As you suggest, this is a tough one, primarily because we don’t know which teams will be selling. There are only six or seven teams in all of baseball that seem like safe bets to be out of the race at the trade deadline.

Also, the Angels have not really had the farm system to make deals for anyone with more than a year of remaining control, but perhaps this season they’ll be desperate enough to ship out an uncomfortable volume of prospects to make a run at ending their postseason drought.

Given all that, how about Pittsburgh Pirates closer David Bednar? If the Milwaukee Brewers aren’t in the race, perhaps right-hander Corbin Burnes or shortstop Willy Adames? These players all have multiple years of control, so the Angels would have to give up a good chunk of their farm system.

The much more affordable market for one-year rentals could include players like Chicago Cubs right-hander Marcus Stroman or Texas Rangers left Martin Perez. Shortstop Javy Baez has an opt-out with the Detroit Tigers, so if he’s playing well it’s more likely he could be traded.

Q: Worst case theories: If we’re mathematically out of postseason contention later and deal the unicorn rather than lose him to free agency, what team(s) gives us the best possible haul? — IainTProud

A: The Dodgers and New York Mets would seem to be the two most likely landing spots for Shohei Ohtani if the Angels decide to trade him, because they have strong farm systems, will be in contention this year, and have a reasonable chance to sign Ohtani after the 2023 season. No other teams can check all three of those boxes, although there are several others that have two out of three.

If the Angels decide they want to go more for short-term gain, acquiring young major-league talent instead of minor-league talent, that could open things up to a team like the Seattle Mariners, whose farm system doesn’t rate as well because of so many recently graduated players.

Q: Any news on the Bally Sports situation? I’m still not sure what’s going on there? — @barshels

A: Diamond Sports, the parent company of Bally Sports West, filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, so the situation is going to become more clear in the coming days.

Bankruptcy just means that Diamond Sports is seeking relief from some of its debt, not necessarily all of it. Diamond Sports will want to continue doing business with some of its partners.

The Angels are not among the four baseball teams that Diamond Sports reportedly wants to cut loose: the Padres, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians and Arizona Diamondbacks. Presumably, they’ll keep paying the Angels and keep broadcasting their games as usual.

In any event, Commissioner Rob Manfred said last month that MLB would take over production and distribution for any teams whose deals with Diamond are voided. MLB is also expected to lift blackouts for those teams, allowing anyone to stream the games anywhere.

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1 hour ago, AngelsWin.com said:

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Angels finally hit the first off day in their spring training schedule on Wednesday, just more than two weeks away from Opening Day.

That provides a convenient moment to stop and assess where they stand in the decisions they face with the roster.

Manager Phil Nevin has repeatedly said the Angels will take the best players, regardless of external factors or expectations. He’s also said that there is more to put into the equations than simply who has the best numbers in Cactus League games.

That leaves us with a whole bunch of uncertainty, evident by the questions that readers asked this week on Twitter and Facebook and the answers – or best guesses – that we’re providing here.

Q: With (Mickey) Moniak showing up this spring, what will the Angels do with their outfield? Doesn’t make sense to keep (Jo) Adell around any longer, does it? — Sean Nelson

A: Moniak was expected to start the season at Triple-A, with Brett Phillips as the fourth outfielder, but Moniak is certainly giving the Angels something to think about. He has shown the best combination of offense and defense among the three candidates for that job: Moniak, Phillips and Adell.

That being said, teams go by much more than spring training to make these decisions. Over the span of their major league careers, none of the three has hit much, but Phillips is an elite defender.

As for Adell, he can be optioned so there’s no reason at all to give up on him. He’s still 23.

The Angels might determine that, in the long run, the best solution is to have both Moniak and Adell playing every day in Triple-A, with Phillips sitting on the bench in the majors.

Q: Is there a possibility that the Angels run 5 LHP SP? Or do we see (Griffin) Canning/(Jaime) Barria/(Chase) Silseth get the last spot? Tucker (Davidson) has looked real good this spring! — @HalosBaseball

A: At this moment, the left-handed Davidson might actually be the leading candidate for the sixth spot, because he’s pitched well and he’s out of options. Barria, a righty, is also out of options, but he has more bullpen experience so the Angels might just keep him there.

If Davidson is the sixth starter, that would give the Angels a rotation with five lefties and one righty. Another righty would be nice, but the Angels are not going to prioritize that over who they believe is pitching the best.

Remember, the competition doesn’t end once the Opening Day roster is set. They will move players up and down all season, because of performance and injuries.

Q: Realistically, is (Luis) Rengifo the starting SS or will we see more from (Gio) Urshela/(David) Fletcher in some fashion — @_MichaelSteinke

A: It’s hard to predict what the Angels are going to do at shortstop, even after a couple of weeks of exhibition games.

The best defensive shortstop is Andrew Velazquez, but he might not even be on the team unless someone gets hurt or the Angels keep seven infielders.

Among the top six who are expected to be there, Fletcher is the best defensively. Rengifo or Urshela offers the best combination of offense and defense.

The only certainty is that there won’t be a single everyday shortstop.

Q: Is (Ben) Joyce making the team? — @HaloHangover

A: Joyce hasn’t allowed a run yet in five innings he’s pitched, four in Cactus League games and one in an exhibition against Team USA. The Angels seem intent on putting him into spots to see what he can do. He still has just half a season of professional experience amounting to just 14 innings at Double-A, so it would still be no surprise if they took the conservative route and let him see what he can do in the minors for a little longer before bringing him up.

Also, the Angels don’t want to have him in the majors if they have to manage his workload more than the other relievers. (Remember how the Angels used Chris Rodriguez in 2021, giving him at least two days off after every game he pitched?) Joyce still has not pitched on back-to-back days in spring training, or even with just one day between outings. If the Angels have him do that in the final weeks of spring training, it would be a good indication that they’re getting him ready to be in the majors.

Q: Presuming they do well in the first half, who could you envision being a good add via trade? Pure speculation, obviously we won’t know who’s available til later — @DrScottFreeman

A: As you suggest, this is a tough one, primarily because we don’t know which teams will be selling. There are only six or seven teams in all of baseball that seem like safe bets to be out of the race at the trade deadline.

Also, the Angels have not really had the farm system to make deals for anyone with more than a year of remaining control, but perhaps this season they’ll be desperate enough to ship out an uncomfortable volume of prospects to make a run at ending their postseason drought.

Given all that, how about Pittsburgh Pirates closer David Bednar? If the Milwaukee Brewers aren’t in the race, perhaps right-hander Corbin Burnes or shortstop Willy Adames? These players all have multiple years of control, so the Angels would have to give up a good chunk of their farm system.

The much more affordable market for one-year rentals could include players like Chicago Cubs right-hander Marcus Stroman or Texas Rangers left Martin Perez. Shortstop Javy Baez has an opt-out with the Detroit Tigers, so if he’s playing well it’s more likely he could be traded.

Q: Worst case theories: If we’re mathematically out of postseason contention later and deal the unicorn rather than lose him to free agency, what team(s) gives us the best possible haul? — IainTProud

A: The Dodgers and New York Mets would seem to be the two most likely landing spots for Shohei Ohtani if the Angels decide to trade him, because they have strong farm systems, will be in contention this year, and have a reasonable chance to sign Ohtani after the 2023 season. No other teams can check all three of those boxes, although there are several others that have two out of three.

If the Angels decide they want to go more for short-term gain, acquiring young major-league talent instead of minor-league talent, that could open things up to a team like the Seattle Mariners, whose farm system doesn’t rate as well because of so many recently graduated players.

Q: Any news on the Bally Sports situation? I’m still not sure what’s going on there? — @barshels

A: Diamond Sports, the parent company of Bally Sports West, filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, so the situation is going to become more clear in the coming days.

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Bankruptcy just means that Diamond Sports is seeking relief from some of its debt, not necessarily all of it. Diamond Sports will want to continue doing business with some of its partners.

The Angels are not among the four baseball teams that Diamond Sports reportedly wants to cut loose: the Padres, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians and Arizona Diamondbacks. Presumably, they’ll keep paying the Angels and keep broadcasting their games as usual.

In any event, Commissioner Rob Manfred said last month that MLB would take over production and distribution for any teams whose deals with Diamond are voided. MLB is also expected to lift blackouts for those teams, allowing anyone to stream the games anywhere.

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I think Davidson could be trade candidate.

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