Minasian talks bullpen additions and more for '24

February 5th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Rhett Bollinger's Angels Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

ANAHEIM -- If there’s one area where the Angels have improved the most this offseason, it’s been the bullpen, as general manager Perry Minasian has been active in adding several relievers to the mix via free agency and trades.

The latest signing came on Saturday, when the Angels inked right-handed reliever José Cisnero to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million. Cisnero, 34, posted a 5.31 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings with the Tigers in 2023 and has a career 3.99 ERA in seven MLB seasons.

The Angels also signed right-hander Robert Stephenson to a three-year deal worth $33 million, lefty Matt Moore to a one-year, $9 million pact, right-hander Luis García to a one-year deal for $4.25 million, right-hander Adam Cimber to a one-year pact for $1.65 million and lefty Adam Kolarek for one year and $900,000. Additionally, the Angels acquired left-handed reliever Tyler Thomas in the trade that sent David Fletcher and Max Stassi to the Braves in December.

They join a group that includes closer Carlos Estévez and hard-throwing right-handers José Soriano and Ben Joyce. Minasian said improving the bullpen was one of his goals this offseason.

“We feel like we’re in a better place than we were in the beginning of the offseason,” Minasian said. “But I wouldn’t rule out adding more. You can never have enough arms. And that's something that we'll continue to look at. … Looking at the current construction of the club at the end of last season, we felt like the bullpen was a significant hole. We had a lot of struggles, and there are many reasons for that. So to add some guys who can bump guys down and fill those innings for us is really important.”

With Spring Training just a little more than a week away, Minasian was also asked about a wide variety of topics about the club. Here’s more on what he had to say with pitchers and catchers set for their first workout on Feb. 14.

On whether rookie Nolan Schanuel is ready to be the everyday first baseman: “I think versatility is really, really important. And we have guys that can move around and play different spots. We're not relying on any one single player. It's a team sport. You have to have a lot of productive players. We've seen it over the last couple of years with injuries. You need to have depth upon depth. For our younger players, as far as expectations go, we know where they are in their career. And again, we're not relying on one individual player to carry this club. But Nolan's earned the right to have the opportunity to come into camp and compete for the first-base job. He’s put a lot of work in this offseason.”

On Schanuel’s impressive showing in September: “Knowing him, he's never satisfied. So if you asked him how that month went, he’ll tell you it was a good experience and all those things, but he could have been better. That's something we appreciate about him. That's what we want [from] all of our young players, all of our players in general.”

On whether Mickey Moniak has solidified his spot on the roster, even after Aaron Hicks was signed: [Ron Washington] will have a big say in that. Obviously, he did what he did. He’s going to be on the team, if that's what you're asking. He's somebody that really performed well, can play all three outfield spots, is left-handed with power. So he's somebody that's solidified himself as being a Major League player, and we'll see what he can do to build off that. He's put in a lot of work this offseason.”

On whether there are any concerns about Zach Neto’s injury history last season: “Just talking to him, it's less about expectations and more about being ready to play and getting himself in a spot from a health standpoint, which he is in now, to come into Spring Training in the best position to be in to make the club -- and be an everyday player and be a productive everyday player. So those are the conversations we've had with him. He’ll come to camp like everybody else. And we'll see how it goes.”

On whether there's any chance the team would move Mike Trout out of center field: “Mike's our center fielder. And I think Mike knows he’s our center fielder.”