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Five questions facing Angels this offseason

September 30, 2018

ANAHEIM -- Change is afoot for the Angels.Following the club's 5-4 walk-off win over the A's in Sunday's regular-season finale, Mike Scioscia announced that he will not return to manage the Angels in 2019, ending his 19-year run at the helm of the club.It leaves yet another question mark for

ANAHEIM -- Change is afoot for the Angels.
Following the club's 5-4 walk-off win over the A's in Sunday's regular-season finale, Mike Scioscia announced that he will not return to manage the Angels in 2019, ending his 19-year run at the helm of the club.
It leaves yet another question mark for the Angels, who will watch the playoffs unfold without them for the fourth consecutive year after finishing in fourth place in the American League West with a disappointing 80-82 mark.
The onus is now on general manager Billy Eppler and his staff to find ways to retool the roster to keep pace in an increasingly competitive division. Here are five questions for the Angels as they head into the offseason.
Who will be the next Angels manager?
Now that Scioscia's tenure has come to a close, the Angels' first order of business will be to find his successor. Three internal candidates have already been mentioned as potential options to replace Scioscia: bench coach Josh Paul and special assistants to the GM Brad Ausmus and Eric Chavez. Expect the Angels to spend the next several weeks interviewing contenders from inside and outside the organization to find the right fit for the job.
Will the Angels attempt to sign Michael Trout to an extension?
Trout is coming off his best overall season to date, but he was once again forced to play meaningless games in September after the Angels faded from contention. Despite their consistent efforts to build a competitive team around him, the Angels have yet to win a playoff game with Trout, and their window to capitalize on his prime is closing.
Trout is under control for only two more seasons, but the Angels are expected to broach the possibility of a contract extension this offseason. While Trout has said he enjoys playing in Anaheim, the Angels will likely have to convince him that they can contend in the near future to lock him up long term.
When will Shohei Ohtani be available to hit in 2019?
Ohtani is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery later this week, which will keep him off the mound until the 2020 season, but he will likely be back as a hitter at some point next season. It's unclear whether Ohtani will be ready by Opening Day, as the Angels have not yet offered a potential timetable for his return. Ohtani's rehab will be unique, as there are no notable cases of a two-way player coming back from this procedure.
While the prospect of having Ohtani's bat in their lineup on a regular basis next season helps ameliorate some of the sting of losing him as a pitcher, the Angels will not rush him back as a hitter if they feel it would compromise the health of his prized right elbow.
Will the Angels look to bolster their oft-injured rotation?
Durability has been an issue for many of the Angels' starters, and a slew of rotation injuries proved to be one of the primary culprits in the club's disappointing finish this year. They will be without two of their top starters in 2019, as Garrett Richards will be a free agent and Ohtani will be rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Those developments could prompt the Angels to look externally to beef up their pitching staff. The Angels have not delved into the free-agent market for starting pitchers in recent years, but perhaps that will change this winter.
Who will be the Angels' starting catcher next season?
The Angels relied on rookies Jose Briceno and Francisco Arcia over the final month of the season after trading Martin Maldonado and letting Rene Rivera go to the Braves on a waiver claim, but they will likely be on the hunt for a more experienced starter this winter. With a shortage of internal depth at the position, the Angels will likely have to look outside the organization to fill that void.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.