The question was clear: To sell or not to sell the best player we have ever witnessed play the game?
Well the Angels made that decision and did so days before the deadline when they pulled Shohei Ohtani off the table last night. They then followed up that announcement by trading for Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez from the Chicago White Sox. Simply put, the Angels are all-in.
Shohei Ohtani is the best player in baseball and is set to be a free agent at the end of the season. Meanwhile, co-star of the team Mike Trout is sidelined with an injury and the Angels face an uphill battle in the AL Wild Card race.
However, the team has won six of their last seven games and is now sitting just four games back in the AL Wild Card race right now. And after all, they have the best player in the league still on their roster. What other big moves could they look to make? Let’s dive in.
One Last Push
The Angels’ current daily lineup is not good enough to compete with the likes of the Astros, Rays, Blue Jays, and others in the AL Wild Card picture currently. However, they could be welcoming back Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Brandon Drury, and Logan O’Hoppe in the coming weeks. While still uncertain, the potential of bringing back all of those key players is there.
The injuries have definitely derailed this roster, unfortunately, but they have the ability to make a push. While Ohtani has been excellent, the Angels needed help on the pitching side of the ball and just addressed it by acquiring Giolito. He will slot nicely with Patrick Sandoval and Reid Detmers, who have complimented Ohtani well and should remain strong pieces of the rotation.
Furthermore, the bullpen has been below average most of the season. Adding Lopez in the Giolito trade helps, but they could still use another arm.
On the offensive side of the ball, the lineup fully healthy actually seems fairly strong. But they can’t just hope for injured players to return quickly as they need to start winning immediately if they want to keep Ohtani around.
First base has been an issue all season for the Angels and they haven’t been able to find a stable option out there. Despite adding Eduardo Escobar and Mike Moustakas already this season, the infield still just lacks high-quality players who can make an impact every day.
One name to watch is Jeimer Candelario, who is having a resurgent season with the Washington Nationals. Candelario is hitting .256/.336/.483, with 16 home runs and a 119 wRC+. He will be a free agent after the season and is likely to be moved.
Candelario would be able to slot in and play third base, and even has experience at first base if the Angels decided to play him there. More importantly, he would add a switch-hitting bat into the middle of their lineup.
The Angels are clearly going to do everything they can to win this season around Shohei Ohtani. Adding another reliever or two and a quality bat could go a long to helping the Angels finally deliver a postseason berth to Ohtani and their fans.