And here’s a potential look at their rotation, assuming they intend to roll six deep to accommodate Ohtani as he returns to the mound following Tommy John surgery.
That’s a top-heavy roster. Trout, Rendon, and Ohtani are some of the best players in baseball; Simmons is an elite defender; Upton, Goodwin, Fletcher, and La Stella could each be offensive pluses. On the pitching side of things, the Angels are banking on veterans Heaney and Bundy to be at least average, but there is some risk there. Canning is the best of the three youngsters at the back, with Barria and Sandoval each scuffling last season.
- 2B David Fletcher/Tommy La Stella
- CF Mike Trout
- 3B Anthony Rendon
- DH Shohei Ohtani
- LF Justin Upton
- 1B Albert Pujols
- RF Brian Goodwin
- SS Andrelton Simmons
- C Max Stassi
Eppler has some clear needs to address between now and Opening Day, beginning with finding a catcher to pair with Stassi, a capable defender and incapable hitter. That could be as easy as signing Jason Castro. Otherwise, Eppler’s attention should be on the rotation.
The Angels were said to have explored trades for starters involving Will Wilson before they shipped him to San Francisco in the Zack Cozart . Presumably Eppler has since come to the realization that eating money is the only real way forward for the Angels to land an above-average starter. While they do have some quality prospects at the top of their system, Eppler is obviously not going to move Jo Adell, and may prefer to not move Brandon Marsh. Perhaps Eppler would make an exception if it meant adding Corey Kluber?
That’s a fine group to select from. Even if the Angels are reluctant to meet Bumgarner’s price point, they could conceivably ink two of the other four without feeling irresponsible. Now, whether the Angels will do that is anyone’s guess. They should be aggressive — especially for someone like Keuchel, a groundball-generating southpaw who can force right-hander after right-hander to pound it toward the waiting mitts of Rendon and Simmons. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Angels Anthony Rendon to a seven-year pact worth 5 million. For the Angels, it was a quick, nifty rebound after missing out on ace Gerrit Cole to the New York Yankees the previous evening. In due time, Rendon’s signing could mark the turnaround point for an organization that has disappointed more often than not over the past decade. Despite employing the best player in baseball in Mike Trout and another historic talent in Shohei Ohtani, the Angels have not made the postseason since 2014. Coming into the winter, league sources informed CBS Sports that the Angels envisioned a scenario where they would sign Cole as well as another top-end veteran arm. It was never clear if the Angels had a specific name in mind, but the market still features plenty of pitchers who would fit the bill. Take a look at the top five pitchers remaining on our free-agent rankings:
As such, keep an eye on the Angels in free agency and as it pertains to Price. There’s no sense in taking half-measures, not anymore, and those seem like the avenues the Angels need to go down in order to maximize their chances at making the postseason next fall.
At present, this is what Joe Maddon’s lineup looks like: If Rendon’s signing is to be reflected upon in that way anytime soon, it’ll be because Billy Eppler and the Angels continued to work all the angles this winter.