2023 Angels: A Sho-wan song?

Tokyo Sox

Baka Gaijin
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I've been watching a lot of Angels games the past few years, so will take my first crack at an Adopt-a-Team thread with them. 2023 may be a one-and-done for me in this forum with the Angels because if our man Shohei leaves for greener pastures, I assume they'll drop off of regular tv coverage here. We shall see.

What are the major developments since their disappointing 73-89 season in 2022? Quite a few!

Arte Moreno explored putting the team up for sale, then changed his mind:
https://www.latimes.com/sports/angels/story/2023-01-23/arte-moreno-no-longer-selling-angels
“During this process, it became clear that we have unfinished business and feel we can make a positive impact on the future of the team and the fan experience,” Moreno said in a statement. “This offseason we committed to a franchise record player payroll and still want to accomplish our goal of bringing a World Series Championship back to our fans.”
View: https://twitter.com/Angels/status/1617656148148224001?s=20


They signed some interesting new pieces:
- Tyler Anderson to a 3y FA deal, coming off his career year with the Dodgers.
- Gio Urshela in a trade from the Twins
- Hunter Renfroe in a trade from the Brewers
- RP Carlos Estevez as a FA from the Rockies; he may be their new closer
- Brandon Drury as an FA

Drury and Renfroe should immediately plug into the starting lineup. As has been the case the last few years, the offense is all about health. If they can get 140 games out of Trout, which has only happened once since 2016, that would be a great start. Likewise Rendon.

The rotation could actually be pretty legit:
Shohei Ohtani
Tyler Anderson
Patrick Sandoval
Reid Detmers
Jose Suarez

The first two everyone knows. The others:
Sandoval posted a 2.91 ERA in 148.2 IP last year.
Detmers is only 23, threw the only non-combined no-hitter in MLB last year, has a beautiful Kershaw-esque curve, and in 11 second half starts last year posted a 3.36 ERA (2.57 FIP) and a 9.9 K/9.
Suarez was similarly impressive in the second half, with a 2.81 ERA in 64 IP.

I've got no idea what most of the bullpen really looks like, and will dive into that in subsequent posts. On the back end, Jimmy Herget was impressive last year after Raisel Iglesias departed (1.10 ERA/0.827 WHIP, 8 Saves in the second half) but he looks like his rubber band arm could fall off at any moment. He and Estevez will compete (or combine) for closing duties.

It'll be hard to compete with the Astros and the ascendant Mariners in the division, but I'll set my sights on .500 for the LAAA this year. Anything more will be gravy. Anything less will almost certainly seal the deal on Ohtani leaving in the offseason, if he isn't moved at the deadline.
 

Tokyo Sox

Baka Gaijin
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Various bits of good news from Angels camp:
- presumed leadoff hitter Taylor Ward is having a great spring, slashing .356/.420/.622 in 45 ABs
- presumed cleanup hitter Anthony Rendon is having a great spring, slashing .500/.564/.794 in 34 ABs
- Reid Detmers apparently worked with Driveline in the offseason and has shown consistently increased velo this spring:
The southpaw averaged 93.2 mph with his four-seam fastball last season. That averaged 94-96 mph yesterday. His slider averaged 85.9 mph last season. That jumped up to 88-91 mph this last time out.
Through 17.1 IP he's got 23 K, with a 2.60 ERA/0.87 WHIP. Encouraging!

Less encouraging is that Carlos Estevez has yet to figure anything out this Spring, with a 12.15 ERA / 2.55 WHIP in 8 appearances. My money is on Jimmy Herget to open the season as the closer.
 

Tokyo Sox

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Angels drop the Tungsten Arm O'Doyle Memorial Opener 2-1.

plus ça ch-angel, plus c'est la même Sho's.
なおエ
Angels gonna Angel

Shohei pitched great, had to work out of a couple of jams here and there, and in the 1st the 15 balls he threw missed by a combined 75 feet. But once he settled in he looked terrific and finished with 6 scoreless and 10 K's. And of course he was on base twice. As Sarah Langs tells us:
View: https://twitter.com/SlangsOnSports/status/1641662939403898880?s=20

Shohei Ohtani’s outing was the 26th since at least 1901 with 10+ strikeouts and no runs allowed on Opening Day

it’s the first time that pitcher’s team lost the game
I was surprised to see Herget so early - he came in to pitch the 7th - and while it was a high leverage situation I hope it's not a sign of things to come. He really does seem like their best option to close at the moment. In my OP I was wondering about the rest of the bullpen, and today Loup and Tepera started to answer some of my questions, but not in a good way.

Tough way to start the season for our haloed heroes.
 

HoyaSoxa

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So am I correct in calculating that if Shohei goes every fifth game, he would be starting the Patriot's Day game at Fenway? Obviously a lot can happen to change the rotation, but it seems like that is the only date he could even possibly pitch during the Sox series.
 

Jim Ed Rice in HOF

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So am I correct in calculating that if Shohei goes every fifth game, he would be starting the Patriot's Day game at Fenway? Obviously a lot can happen to change the rotation, but it seems like that is the only date he could even possibly pitch during the Sox series.
From your lips to Nevin’s ears. Patriot’s Day attendance has been an almost 40 year tradition so getting a chance to see him pitch would be awesome.
 

BigSoxFan

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Wow, that's a really bad look for a professional in any job, let alone one getting paid the way he is.
Yup. The grab and the little swat at the end is almost certainly going to lead to a deserved suspension of a few games. Unless there is something egregious the camera didn’t catch, Rendon comes off looking like a giant ass in this.

Ohtani needs to leave this franchise. He deserves so much better.
 

Tokyo Sox

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Wow, that's a really bad look for a professional in any job, let alone one getting paid the way he is.
Yup. The grab and the little swat at the end is almost certainly going to lead to a deserved suspension of a few games. Unless there is something egregious the camera didn’t catch, Rendon comes off looking like a giant ass in this.
Yep. 5 game suspension, which he is appealing. From MLB dot com:
Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon has received a five-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for his actions involving a fan last Thursday, when his Club played the Oakland Athletics. Michael Hill, Major League Baseball’s Senior Vice President for On-Field Operations, made the announcement.

Rendon will appeal the suspension, the Angels announced on Monday, meaning he will be able to play in the team's series opener against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park.
 

BigSoxFan

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Yep. 5 game suspension, which he is appealing. From MLB dot com:
Looks like he has dropped his appeal for a reduction of a game so now will start serving 4 game suspension tonight. Dude doesn’t need money but just dropped $938K because he couldn’t just walk away. When keeping it real goes wrong…
 

brandonchristensen

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Looks like he has dropped his appeal for a reduction of a game so now will start serving 4 game suspension tonight. Dude doesn’t need money but just dropped $938K because he couldn’t just walk away. When keeping it real goes wrong…
When this happens they should allow someone from the stands to take his spot on the 26 and pay a portion of the lost salary to the fan player. Fuck it.
 

jon abbey

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When this happens they should allow someone from the stands to take his spot on the 26 and pay a portion of the lost salary to the fan player. Fuck it.
Yeah, encouraging even more asshole behavior from fans is a great idea, think it through.
 

Tokyo Sox

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Ben Joyce: out of the Trash Pan-das, into the trash fire.

https://www.mlb.com/news/ben-joyce-angels-no-9-prospect-called-up-from-double-a
Joyce is the latest youngster to be brought up to fortify the bullpen, as he joins 23-year-olds Chase Silseth and Sam Bachman. Bachman, the club’s No. 4 prospect, was called up for the first time on Friday and made his debut, allowing one run over two innings with four strikeouts. Shortstop Zach Neto, 22, was also called up from Double-A in mid-April.

It shows the Angels are being aggressive with their prospects and Joyce is excited about the chance to make an impact. Neto and Joyce are the first two players from the 2022 Draft to reach the Majors, while Silseth was the first player from the 2021 Draft to reach the Majors last year.
 

Tokyo Sox

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https://www.mlb.com/news/angels-unlikely-to-trade-shohei-ohtani-in-2023

While the headline makes me want to post the Will Ferrell Anchorman "I don't believe you" meme, in the article Minasian doesn't actually say "we're not trading him" anyway. Maybe there's other quotes where he more clearly says no, but this at least reads more like fence sitting:
Angels general manager Perry Minasian said Tuesday that the club doesn’t intend to trade two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani before the Trade Deadline because of where they are in the standings.

The Angels entered the day with a 41-33 record, having won 11 of 14, and Minasian was asked if he’d consider trading Ohtani, who is in the last year of his contract and will be a free agent after the season.

“I think anybody who has watched us play or looked where we’re at in the standings, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we like him and we hope he’s here a long time,” Minasian said. “It’s pretty self-explanatory with where we’re at.”

Minasian was asked a follow-up question if there was any scenario in which he’d trade Ohtani and he again dismissed the idea. “It’s pretty self-explanatory with where we’re at,” Minasian reiterated.
While this team has been a really pleasant surprise so far -- and are currently the 3rd wild card -- it would be gross mismanagement to get 1 player for Ohtani when they could probably get 4 or 5, even for a short term rental.
 
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BigSoxFan

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https://www.mlb.com/news/angels-unlikely-to-trade-shohei-ohtani-in-2023

While the headline makes me want to post the Will Ferrell Anchorman "I don't believe you" meme, in the article Minasian doesn't actually say "we're not trading him" anyway. Maybe there's other quotes where he more clearly says no, but this art least reads more like fence sitting:


While this team has been a really pleasant surprise so far -- and are currently the 3rd wild card -- it would be gross mismanagement to get 1 player for Ohtani when they could probably get 4 or 5, even for a short term rental.
Really is a tough call though for a team that has never made the playoffs with Trout/Ohtani. But knowing the Angels, they’ll hold onto Ohtani AND miss the playoffs.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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Sorry, am I missing something? Are people saying that a team currently in playoff position should consider trading its best player - the best player, really - in the middle of the season simply so they don't "lose him for nothing?"
 

Tokyo Sox

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Sorry, am I missing something? Are people saying that a team currently in playoff position should consider trading its best player - the best player, really - in the middle of the season simply so they don't "lose him for nothing?"
I am saying that yes. Or technically I was yesterday but am not now, since they're no longer in playoff position. Look I don't know what the right answer is -- if they go on a tear between now and the deadline, and they're all healthy, and they look like they are actually a playoff team then, maybe it makes sense to go for it. Maybe it's the right thing to do to try to give their fans (and their players) one last hurrah with Shohei. But:
- it would indeed be a last hurrah, he's not re-signing there
- they have a top-10 difficulty remaining schedule
- the Yanks & Astros just in front of them, and the Sox & Jays just behind them all have easier schedules.
- SoS aside, both the Yanks & Astros best hitters have been on the IL for a while now. The Yanks are 5-8 since losing Judge, and similarly the Astros are 4-7 since losing Yordan. I think we should expect them to win more games when those guys are back.
- FanGraphs gives the Angels a 36% chance of making the playoffs which is the 8th highest in the AL, ie it predicts them to not be a playoff team.
- if they hang onto him through the end of the year, they get 1 compensatory draft pick when he signs with the Dodgers/Giants/Mets/whoever. If they move him at the deadline, they probably get what, 3 or 4 minor leaguers? More?

I don't think it's a crazy idea to move him at the deadline even if they're back in the 3rd wild card by then.
 

jon abbey

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LAA are missing a lot of infielders, Gio Urshela is out for the year now and Rendon and Neto are on the IL.