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Angels have more than manager to address

Roster questions will need to be answered for 2020 season
@RhettBollinger
October 2, 2019

ANAHEIM -- What was expected to be a big offseason for the Angels became even more interesting just one day after the end of the regular season with the decision to part ways with manager Brad Ausmus, despite him being under contract through 2021. The Angels are now focused on

ANAHEIM -- What was expected to be a big offseason for the Angels became even more interesting just one day after the end of the regular season with the decision to part ways with manager Brad Ausmus, despite him being under contract through 2021.

The Angels are now focused on a managerial search led by general manager Billy Eppler, who is headed into the last year of his contract. Former Cubs manager Joe Maddon is widely believed to be the top target. Maddon has ties to the Angels, having worked as a coach in the organization for 31 years.

But there are plenty of other key things the Angels need to resolve this offseason, so here’s a look at their biggest issues, important dates and more:

Which players are free agents?

Trevor Cahill, who had a base salary of $9 million in 2019, is the club’s only impending free agent. The Angels already moved on from Matt Harvey ($11 million), Cody Allen ($8.5 million) and Jonathan Lucroy ($3.3 million). They were all signed to one-year deals for roughly $32 million combined, but none panned out.

Which players have options, what’s the dollar figure and impact on payroll, and when do they need to be decided upon?

A key decision for the Angels early in the offseason is whether to pick up Kole Calhoun’s $14 million option or pay a $1 million buyout. Calhoun is coming off a season that saw him hit a career-high 33 homers, but the Angels seem more likely to decline the option and spend that money on pitching. The team has to decide within five days of the end of the World Series, Eppler said Tuesday.

Who might be a non-tender candidate, and when does the club have to make that decision?

First baseman Justin Bour was signed to a one-year $2.5 million deal last offseason and is eligible for arbitration, but he is likely to be non-tendered. Other non-tender candidates include right-hander Nick Tropeano, who could be removed from the 40-man roster earlier in the offseason, and reliever Luis García. Players eligible for arbitration for the first time include catcher Kevan Smith, reliever Noé Ramirez and outfielder Brian Goodwin. The non-tender deadline is expected to be Friday, Nov. 29.

Who needs to be added to the 40-man roster this winter to avoid the Rule 5 Draft, and do the Angels have a crunch for roster spots?

Second baseman Jahmai Jones, ranked as the club's No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is the club's most notable player who must be added to the 40-man roster to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 12. Infielder Jose Rojas, who hit 31 homers with Triple-A Salt Lake, would also need to be added to the roster or he could be lost via the Rule 5 Draft. Other eligible players include outfielder Brennan Lund, catcher Jack Kruger, infielder Leonardo Rivas and reliever Jeremy Rhoades. The Angels could decide to only add Jones, and possibly Rojas, so finding roster spots shouldn’t be an issue.

Eligible players are those who signed or were drafted when they were 18 years old or younger and have logged five Minor League seasons, or those who signed or were drafted when they were 19 years old or older and have completed four Minor League seasons.

What kind of help do the Angels need and will they be active in free agency? Who might they target?

The Angels are in desperate need of starting pitching and they are expected to be very active in free agency, including going after the top pitcher available in Orange County native Gerrit Cole. Signing the right-hander will be expensive, but it could be a signal to the industry that the Angels are ready to compete after making the postseason just once over the last 10 seasons.

Ranking top 20 free agents

The Angels are likely to add at least two starting pitchers this offseason, and they could target bullpen help as well. Expect the Angels to check in just about every available starting pitcher, and they could also be active in the trade market as well. Double-A outfielder Brandon Marsh, ranked as the club’s No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is their best trade chip.

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.