What Moves Could the Angels Still Make?

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Updated: January 4, 2017

After signing Ben Revere to share time in left field with new addition Cameron Maybin, it would appear the Angels position player depth chart is filled. While it’s certainly possible the Angels could find a bargain too good to pass up as free agency lingers on and players get desperate, the Halos lineup appears all but set.

If the right bargain presents itself, though, I’m sure Billy Eppler and company will pounce. The pitching staff, however, could use more depth, in the rotation and the bullpen, even after the signing of Jesse Chavez. Luckily for the Angels, there are still a plethora of reliable pitchers that could be had for a potential bargain. Here are the areas the Angels could still look to improve by hitting the open market.

Potential Closer – At first glance, the Angels are set on the back end of their bullpen. Closer Huston Street is expected to be healthy and ready to go, and Cam Bedrosian had a spectacular season and even filled in at closer before an injury of his own.

The Halos also resigned Andrew Bailey, who finished the season as their closer and has years of experience closing out games. A closer look, though, reveals some serious question marks; Street is coming off the worst season of his career, and he and Bedrosian are both coming off injuries.

Bailey looked good in a small sample size, but struggled earlier in the season and has had his own problems staying healthy in years past. The Angels could stand to add some more depth in the bullpen, especially one with closer experience.

Drew Storen, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Neftali Feliz, David Hernandez, Shawn Tolleson, and Tom Wilhelmsen are all available, and could potentially be had at a bargain. While these players come with question marks and recent struggles, they all would add depth with closing experience for a decent price, something no team can have too much of.

Lefty Reliever – Jose Alvarez has mainly filled this role, and at times been the only lefty the bullpen has, and while he’s pitched pretty well over the last two years, the Angels could look to add more depth in this specific role, as well. Travis Wood, J.P. Howell, Jerry Blevins, and Boone Logan would represent the higher quality arms, but they may command more years or salary than the Angels would want to lock up into this type of role.

Javier Lopez, Eric O’Flaherty, Charlie Furbush, Chris Capuano, and Phil Coke represent the bargains that could be had on the lower level. Not exciting, but at this point it’s more about adding cheap depth and remaining flexible, the Angels’ MO this entire offseason.

Swingman – The Angels have lots of options in their staff, but not a single one is a sure thing that can be counted on fully, whether it be lack of results, health, or both. The Chavez signing was a good one, with Chavez being able to start or pitch out of the rotation if some of the Angels better prospects pan out.

The Halos need depth in both the rotation and bullpen, so adding one or two more potential swingmen like Chavez could be the way to go for the Angels. Travis Wood, Jorge De La Rosa, Scott Feldman, Jonathan Niese, Trevor Cahill, Vance Worley, Ross Ohlendorf, Justin Masterson, Wandy Rodriguez, and Capuano could add quality bullpen depth and insurance in the rotation in case of injury, and at least a few of these pitchers are potentially good enough to push their way in to the starting rotation with strong showings.

Catcher – While it seems like a long shot, the Angels could sign a more offensively-inclined catcher in case Carlos Perez shows nothing offensively, as he did last season. Having two offensive zeros at the catcher position could be dangerous, and someone like Nick Hundley, Dioner Navarro, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, or even Geovany Soto could push Perez to the minors and pair with Martin Maldonado to at least offer some form of offense from the position. It seems unlikely, but adding one on a cheap, minor league deal to at least push Perez in the Spring would be a smart move for Eppler.

Power Depth – Count the Angels out on players like Matt Wieters, Jose Bautista, and Mark Trumbo. Look further down that free agent list, however, and potential bargains present themselves. Aaron HillLuis Valbuena, Pedro Alvarez, Alejandro De Aza, Stephen Drew, and Kelly Johnson all bring a bit of pop and positional versatility and would be welcome additions to the bench.

The Angels could even get creative and pounce on a player like Colby Rasmus, Brandon Moss, or Chase Utley if their market completely withers and they’re willing to accept marginal playing time. Right now the Angels’ bench consists of Revere, Jefry Marte, Cliff Pennington, Kaleb Cowart, and Perez. They could stand to add a little bit of depth, especially players capable of hitting the ball out of the park. The need will be even more exaggerated if Albert Pujols‘ surgery causes him to miss any time, and it’s becoming more and more obvious that Pujols needs more rest throughout the season. A little bit of pop could go a long way on this team.

The Bottom Line – The Angels have addressed their biggest areas of need, and appear much improved in a lot of key areas as Spring Training approaches. The rotation, bullpen, and bench still seem like obvious areas that could stand to be upgraded, and there are a lot of options still available that would fit into the Angels’ get-’em-on-a-cheap-one-year-deal plan. The offseason has gone well, and should be considered a success for Billy Eppler and the Angels’ front office; that being said, the Angels could still stand to make a few moves to solidify a few key areas and push themselves that much closer to contention.

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