5 questions for Angels as they start offseason

September 30th, 2019

ANAHEIM -- The Angels wrapped up their worst season in 20 years, losing 90 games for the first time since 1999.

So there are plenty of question marks going into 2020, as the Angels try to build a contender in the final year of general manager Billy Eppler’s contract. Here’s a look at five questions the Angels will be facing this offseason.

1) How aggressive will the Angels be in acquiring starting pitching?

The Angels desperately need starting pitching, as their rotation was an absolute mess in 2019 and they had to rely on young starters such as Griffin Canning, , and . Canning and Sandoval held their own and should be in the mix next year, while veteran also returns. Two-way star is also slated to return to the mound, starting roughly once a week after not pitching in 2019 because of Tommy John surgery. But the Angels will need to acquire at least two starting pitchers, and they have been linked to Astros ace Gerrit Cole, an Orange County, Calif., native who attended UCLA. Cole will be the most expensive free-agent pitcher on the market, but signing him away from the Astros would be a huge signal that the Angels are looking to compete in 2020 and beyond.

2) Will Kole Calhoun return?

Right fielder set a career high with 33 homers, but the Angels hold a $14 million option for next year that carries a $1 million buyout. Calhoun, 31, has been with the Angels since 2012 and is considered a leader in the clubhouse. But with the Angels looking to add pitching, they could decide to spend that money elsewhere and move on from Calhoun. Top prospect Jo Adell is considered nearly ready for the Majors, while Brian Goodwin could serve as the regular right fielder until Adell is ready.

3) How will the Angels address the bullpen?

emerged as a solid closer, while and had nice seasons as the club’s top setup relievers. The Angels do have some depth beyond that, but they could still be in the market for a veteran reliever. and are the only lefty relievers on the roster, so finding another lefty could make sense.

4) Will the Angels add any position players?

Even if the Angels decide to move on from Calhoun, they have no other impending free agents among their position players, so they could put all their resources toward pitching. But there’s a chance they could acquire a catcher, especially with possibly not ready for the start of the season because of hip surgery. They could also decide to bring back as the backup first baseman or look elsewhere, while they also must determine if they can count on as a fourth outfielder or if they need to acquire one.

5) Will the Angels trade any prospects?

Adell is untouchable, but the Angels could go the trade route to acquire pitching instead of only utilizing free agency. Outfielder Brandon Marsh, ranked as their No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is their best trade chip and he could be ready for the Majors by late in the 2020 season or 2021. Infielder Jeremiah Jackson, the club's No. 5 prospect, is also coming off a big year in Rookie ball and could be used to bring back pitching. The Angels, though, aren’t expected to move any of their young pitchers, as developing arms remains a priority.