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Inbox: What's next for Angels this offseason?

Beat reporter Maria Guardado answers fans' questions
MLB.com @mi_guardado

I don't expect the Angels to go after elite closers such as Greg Holland and Wade Davis this offseason, but a lower-tier reliever could be a possibility. General manager Billy Eppler and his staff have shown a penchant for finding inexpensive pitching talent to fill out their bullpen, with Yusmeiro Petit, Bud Norris and Blake Parker being some of the most notable examples from this past season. The Angels proved in 2017 that flashy names aren't required to build an effective bullpen, so I think they'll try to follow a similar formula in '18.

I don't expect the Angels to go after elite closers such as Greg Holland and Wade Davis this offseason, but a lower-tier reliever could be a possibility. General manager Billy Eppler and his staff have shown a penchant for finding inexpensive pitching talent to fill out their bullpen, with Yusmeiro Petit, Bud Norris and Blake Parker being some of the most notable examples from this past season. The Angels proved in 2017 that flashy names aren't required to build an effective bullpen, so I think they'll try to follow a similar formula in '18.

Video: Can the Angels overtake the Astros in the AL West?

I think the major pieces -- Justin Upton, Shohei Ohtani, Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart -- are already in place for the Angels, so I would expect any remaining moves to be more about supplementing depth. The Halos still need a fourth outfielder who can play center field, and they could look to add more bullpen help, but the bulk of their offseason shopping is complete.

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I doubt it. J.T. Realmuto is one of the best two-way catchers in the Majors, so the Marlins should be able to reap a significant haul if they decide to trade him. It seems unlikely that the Angels would be willing to meet that price, given the state of their farm system. Plus, I think they're quite pleased with having Martin Maldonado as their starting catcher. While Maldonado's offensive production waned in the second half, the Angels believe he might be able to be more consistent at the plate next year now that he's gone through his first full season as a No. 1 catcher.

Video: Maldonado is Wilson Defensive Player of the Year at C

I don't see the Angels making any more notable additions to their rotation this offseason, as they've already spent a lot of money on upgrading their roster. Perhaps they bring more starting options into the organization by taking fliers on some guys, but I think they're satisfied with going into Spring Training with Garrett Richards, Ohtani, Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney, Matt Shoemaker, Nick Tropeano, Parker Bridwell, JC Ramirez and Jaime Barria on their depth chart.

I think developing a two-way plan for Ohtani will be a unique challenge for the Angels, as they'll have to come up with a way to give the 23-year-old Japanese phenom enough opportunities to succeed as both a pitcher and a hitter while also preventing him from overextending himself. There hasn't been a two-way star in the Majors since Babe Ruth, so Ohtani and the Angels will likely be venturing into some uncharted waters next season.

Video: Intentional Talk: Arm MRIs of Ohtani cause a stir

As manager Mike Scioscia said during the Winter Meetings, "I think it will be an opportunity to use some creativity."

It's possible, though I think a move is unlikely to happen before Spring Training, as the Angels need to have a better sense of how much first base Albert Pujols will be able to play before making a decision on Cron. Keeping Cron around also helps guard against injury. He didn't seem to fit on the roster last season after the Angels signed Luis Valbuena, but he ended up appearing in more games than expected after Valbuena and Yunel Escobar both spent time on the disabled list.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

 

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