Offseason checklist: Angels’ needs & moves

February 9th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- The Angels had high hopes for 2020 after bringing in new manager Joe Maddon and signing star third baseman Anthony Rendon to a seven-year deal, but they missed the postseason for the sixth straight season.

The club dismissed general manager Billy Eppler as a result and hired Perry Minasian as their new GM on Nov. 12. That was the first major item on the agenda for the Angels, who believe they can compete in 2021 with a few key additions to the roster.

But what are the Angels' biggest needs entering 2021, and what moves have they made to address them? is keeping track here. As the offseason continues, be sure to check back for updates.


Starting pitchers
Angels starting pitchers combined to post the second-worst ERA in the Majors, better than only the rebuilding Tigers, so upgrading the rotation is again the club’s biggest need. Much like last offseason, the Angels are likely to add two starters via free agency or trade. Their acquisition of proved to be a great move and he’ll be part of the rotation in 2021, but they struck out with . and are locks to be in the rotation, while the club remains hopeful will return to two-way status in ’21. The Angels added to that mix by signing and trading for . They're likely done acquiring any more rotation help, although Minasian hasn't fully ruled it out.

Bullpen help
The bullpen blew an MLB-worst 14 saves, and the Angels helped rectify that by acquiring closer in a trade with the Reds on Dec. 7. But they are still in the market for relief help for a bullpen that figures to have , and at the back end. The club could still add more relievers to the mix after non-tendering relievers Hansel Robles, Keynan Middleton, Justin Anderson, Hoby Milner and Matt Andriese. The Angels added a potential valuable swingman in in a trade with the Rays on Feb. 9.

Middle infielder

The Angels acquired shortstop after not extending a qualifying offer to , who is now a free agent. Utility man is expected to take over at second base.

Feb. 9: Acquired Aaron Slegers in trade with Rays
The Angels added a potential valuable swingman in Slegers, who posted a 3.46 ERA with 19 strikeouts and five walks allowed in 26 innings with the Rays last year. He has experience as both a starter and reliever and could serve in both roles with the Angels. Slegers doesn't throw hard -- his average fastball velocity was 90 mph last year -- but he’s among the best in baseball at inducing weak contact and has a solid ground-ball rate and miniscule walk rate. 

Feb. 4: Acquired outfielder Dexter Fowler from Cardinals
In a bit of a surprising move, the Angels solidified their outfield by acquiring Fowler from the Cardinals in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Fowler can step in as the club's starting right fielder with Justin Upton in left and Mike Trout in center. It allows former top prospect Jo Adell to get more seasoning in the Minors this year. It also reunites the switch-hitter with Joe Maddon, who was his manager with the Cubs from 2015-16.

Feb. 3: Claimed infielder Robel García from the Mets
The Angels added some versatility, claiming García from the Mets, as García has experience at every position except catcher and center field. García, 27, has one season of Major League experience, batting .208/.275/.500 with five homers, two doubles, two triples and 11 RBIs in 31 games with the Cubs in 2019. Angels skipper Joe Maddon was his manager that season.

Feb. 2: Traded for right-hander Alex Cobb
The addition of Cobb likely completes the rotation, as he joins newly signed Quintana as well as Bundy, Heaney, Canning and Ohtani. Cobb, 33, posted a 4.30 ERA with 38 strikeouts, 18 walks and eight homers allowed in 10 starts in 2020. The Halos are hopeful that with a move to the American League West and some changes to his pitch mix, he'll take a step forward in '21.

Jan. 22: Angels sign left-hander José Quintana
The Angels made their first addition to the rotation this offseason by inking Quintana to a one-year deal worth $8 million. Quintana will reunite with Maddon, who managed him from 2017-19 with the Cubs. The 32-year-old Quintana has a career 3.73 ERA over nine big league seasons.

Jan. 15: Signed catcher Kurt Suzuki
The Angels were in the market for a veteran catcher to pair with Max Stassi and found their man in Suzuki, agreeing to sign him to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. Suzuki, 37, has remained productive late in his career, including hitting a career-high 17 homers in 85 games in 2019, while helping the Nationals to a World Series title. The Angels checked in on top free agents such as James McCann and J.T. Realmuto, but they can now allocate more resources toward improving their pitching staff.

Dec. 16: Signed reliever Alex Claudio
The Angels were in the market for a lefty reliever and found one in Claudio, who doesn't throw hard but has been one of the best in the Majors at limiting hard contact. In a seven-year career with the Rangers and Brewers, Claudio has a career 3.44 ERA with 217 strikeouts in 311 2/3 innings.

Dec. 10: Selected Jose Alberto Rivera from the Astros in the Rule 5 Draft
The Angels added to their bullpen by selecting Rivera, who has reached as hard as 101 mph with his fastball, in the Rule 5 Draft. Rivera, though, hasn't pitched above Class A and must remain on the active roster all season or offered back to Houston for $50,000.

Dec. 7: Traded for closer Raisel Iglesias from the Reds
The Angels filled a major need by acquiring Iglesias to be the club's closer in 2021. The Angels non-tendered former closer Hansel Robels on Dec. 2 and were in the market for an experienced closer. Iglesias, who is one of only five closers with 100 saves over the last five seasons, was a perfect match for the Angels.

Dec. 2: Traded for shortstop José Iglesias from Orioles
In the first significant move for Minasian, the Angels addressed a big need on the infield. Iglesias, a nine-year veteran who hit .373/.400/.556 last season, gives the Angels a replacement at shortstop for Andrelton Simmons, who was not extended a qualifying offer.

Nov. 20: Added Marsh, Rodriguez to 40-man roster
The Angels protected outfielder Brandon Marsh and right-hander Chris Rodriguez from the Rule 5 Draft by adding them to their 40-man roster. Marsh is ranked as the club's No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline, while Rodriguez ranks sixth.

Nov. 1: Declined to extend qualifying offer to Simmons
Andrelton Simmons could’ve been a candidate to receive the $18.9 million qualifying offer, but he suffered severe left ankle sprains in both 2019 and ‘20, which limited his production.

Oct. 30: Outrighted reliever Bedrosian, who elected free agency
spent seven years with the Angels, posting a 3.70 ERA in 277 2/3 innings and was due for a raise in arbitration after posting a 2.45 ERA in 11 appearances in 2020.