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Who might make the Halos' Opening Day roster?

@RhettBollinger
January 22, 2020

ANAHEIM -- The Angels have had a busy offseason so far, making a splash for third baseman Anthony Rendon while filling their needs at starting pitcher and catcher. The Angels have high hopes for 2020, as they're aiming for their first playoff berth since 2014. They still could add pitching

ANAHEIM -- The Angels have had a busy offseason so far, making a splash for third baseman Anthony Rendon while filling their needs at starting pitcher and catcher.

The Angels have high hopes for 2020, as they're aiming for their first playoff berth since 2014. They still could add pitching this offseason, but they appear set in regard to position players. Here’s a look at how the 26-man roster could look this upcoming season.

Catcher
Locks: Max Stassi, Jason Castro
Possibilities: Anthony Bemboom

The Angels decided to move on from Kevan Smith, non-tendering him on Dec. 2, and instead added veteran Jason Castro on a one-year deal to become the primary starter. Castro is regarded as a solid defender and offers more offense than Stassi, who is recovering from surgery on his right hip. Stassi could be ready for the start of the season but if he’s not, Bemboom could be on the Opening Day roster.

First base
Lock: Albert Pujols
Possibilities: Jared Walsh, Matt Thaiss, Tommy La Stella

With Pujols again entrenched at first base, the Angels could decide to use a youngster such as Walsh or Thaiss as his backup. La Stella could also play first on the days Pujols needs a break or serves as DH. The Halos have already moved on from Justin Bour, outrighting him off the roster after a disappointing season.

Second base
Locks: La Stella, David Fletcher
Possibilities: Luis Rengifo

After being named an All-Star for the first time in 2019 before breaking his right tibia in early July, La Stella will be reunited with manager Joe Maddon. He figures to split time at second base with Fletcher, who is expected to be used all over the diamond. Rengifo had a solid rookie year and remains in the mix, but there’s a chance he could start the year in Triple-A Salt Lake.

Shortstop
Lock: Andrelton Simmons
Possibilities: Fletcher

Simmons is headed into the final year of his deal and is looking to bounce back after dealing with injuries, including a severely sprained left ankle that derailed his season. Fletcher will serve as his backup.

Third base
Lock: Rendon
Possibilities: Thaiss, Fletcher

Rendon was a surprise addition for the Angels, inking a seven-year deal worth $245 million. It didn’t seem as though adding a third baseman would be a priority given the emergence of Fletcher, but Rendon gives the Angels one of the best lineups in the American League and is also a plus-defender at the hot corner.

Outfield
Locks: Justin Upton, Mike Trout, Brian Goodwin
Possibilities: Jo Adell, Michael Hermosillo

Upton will start in left and Trout in center, with Goodwin expected to man right field to open the year after the Angels declined Kole Calhoun’s $14 million option. Adell, the club’s No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, will compete for the job in right in Spring Training but is likely to open the year at Salt Lake. Hermosillo could fill in as the fourth outfielder until Adell is ready, then Goodwin could take over the role.

Starting pitchers
Locks: Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning, Dylan Bundy, Julio Teheran
Possibilities: Patrick Sandoval, Félix Peña, Dillon Peters, Jaime Barria, Jose Suarez, Matt Andriese, free agent/trade

The Halos added Bundy via trade and signed Teheran to a one-year deal to help bolster the rotation with two durable starters. The Angels could still look to acquire another starter -- most likely by trade -- or go with one of their youngsters, such as Sandoval, in the rotation. Peña is also in that mix but could be moved to the bullpen. And Andriese, who was acquired via trade on Jan. 14, could also compete for a spot or pitch out of the bullpen, where he's been mostly used in recent years.

Relievers
Locks: Hansel Robles, Ty Buttrey, Keynan Middleton, Noé Ramirez, Justin Anderson, Cam Bedrosian
Possibilities: Luke Bard, Parker Markel, Mike Mayers, Kyle Keller, Adalberto Mejía, Taylor Cole, Matt Andriese, free agent/trade

The Halos don’t have to worry about acquiring a closer, as Robles excelled in that role last season. Buttrey figures to be the top setup man again; he will look to stay strong throughout the year after fading a bit late. The Angels aren’t expected to make much of a splash this offseason in terms of acquiring relief help, but they could look to add a couple of veterans, including a left-hander. They’ve made some minor additions via waiver claims and Minor League trades, acquiring Markel, Mayers and Keller this offseason.

Two-way players
Lock: Shohei Ohtani
Possibilities: Jared Walsh

Unless the Angels successfully petition to Major League Baseball for an exemption, Ohtani won’t be eligible to be a two-way player to start the season because he only served as a DH in 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Oct. 1, 2018. Once he reaches 20 starts at DH in '20, he’ll be eligible to be a two-way player, which essentially gives the Angels another pitcher. Ohtani is expected to start roughly once a week and serve as DH three to four times a week. Walsh saw action as a reliever and a first baseman as a rookie, but he’s not likely to reach the 20-inning mark needed to become eligible.

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