The dust has finally settled after the off-season frenzy that came with the lockout negotiations.
Now that Major League Baseball is officially in a lockout, no teams can make any major league deals or trades, and they also can’t communicate with players on their 40-man roster. This felt like a trade deadline 2.0 in a sense, with everyone scrambling to get deals done before the deadline; the LA Angels being one of them.
Now we can properly assess the team after the lockout was activated and what they need once the lockout is ended.
We know that the plan for the LA Angels was to get at least two starting pitchers whether it be from free agency or trades. They were able to do that with Noah Syndergaard and Michael Lorenzen on one-years that carry some injury risk prior in their careers. However, the upside could be huge with Syndergaard going out to prove he still has dominant stuff as he did with the Mets and that great rotation in the past.
While the Angels have a solid amount of pitching depth going into the 2022 season, there is still a glaring hole to fill in the starting rotation, and that’s an ace. Obviously, when you look at the starting rotation on paper, you think of Syndergaard at the top of the rotation (and you wouldn’t be wrong), but his one-year deal goes to show that he’s out to only prove himself. If the Angels want to be serious about contending, they need a starter with a multi-year deal attached to him; one that fans can look at without putting a question mark next to their name.
Rather than taking a look at the biggest free agent position in the off-season at shortstop, the LA Angels went rather cheap at the position. It looks as though the club would rather fill the hole with versatile players, than sticking someone there long-term with the acquisitions of Tyler Wade and Andrew Velazquez. Both come from the Yankees system and are both entering their age 27 seasons, meaning that they should be at the prime of their careers.
However, their primes have been mediocre and can be mostly viewed as depth pieces. One thing that could benefit them is that this could potentially mean that they’re development wasn’t the greatest with the Yankees, and the Angels hope to bring out something more from both of them. David Fletcher should also be seen taking some reps at the position as well.
With all this in mind, the proper grade for the LA Angels during the lockout would be a solid B. While they did address the needs with Syndergaard and Lorenzen, they both have question marks surrounding their names, and both are on one-year deals which doesn’t mean they can lead the rotation. It could’ve been a lot worse had they not signed these two pitchers, and fans were left still wondering how the rotation will be filled out.
One thing is for sure, and that’s that the young pitching depth has to take a step forward in their development.
The depth at the shortstop position does bode well for the young infielders in development. Should the team had signed one of the big named free agents, it could’ve created a possible log jam. While the guys like Jeremiah Jackson, Brendon Davis, and Arol Vera are developing, the team might want to keep staying with supplemental depth at that position.
While the team might not have made the biggest splashes in the off-season, they at least got into the pool with the rest of the other clubs. Time will tell if the team continues to improve on this grade or subtract from it.