Inbox: Should Halos make Ohtani a closer?

Beat reporter Maria Guardado answers questions from Angels fans

September 17th, 2018
Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani walks in the dugout prior to a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ray Carlin)Ray Carlin/AP

The idea of using as a closer has been floated a lot since the news broke of his Tommy John surgery recommendation, but it's not one the Angels are seriously considering right now. I don't think the Angels would be maximizing Ohtani's value as a pitcher by using him out of the bullpen, and there's no compelling evidence that shows that a reliever's workload puts less stress on the elbow than a starter's.
Manager Mike Scioscia reiterated these points when asked about the possibility on Sunday.
"Nobody has a crystal ball, but I would think that would be the wrong path to take with Shohei because he's shown no issues with being able to get into that 100-110 pitch count and being able to bounce back," Scioscia said. "Once he makes a decision and everything is taken care of, he should be able to get back in the rotation and be that dynamic starter he has the potential to be. It's not as easy as you think being a closer. There are a lot of times you're warming up. You're still going to pitch in 70 games and there's times you're going to warm up and not get into a game. That would be tough to do with him in the lineup and swinging the bat also."
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It's hard to say, but Canning, the Angels' No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, will definitely be on the Angels' rotation depth chart heading into next season. His development, along with the health and effectiveness of the rest of the pitching staff, will ultimately determine how quickly he reaches the big leagues. The Angels probably didn't expect to be pitching in the Majors on April 11, but they were forced to turn to the 22-year-old rookie after JC Ramirez and went down within the first 10 days of the season.

Assuming the reports that Scioscia intends to step down at the end of the season are accurate, I think the Angels have three internal candidates who will be in the mix to potentially succeed him: bench coach Josh Paul and special assistants Brad Ausmus and Eric Chavez. Ausmus, who skippered the Tigers from 2014-17, is the only one of that group with previous managerial experience in the Majors. Paul has not managed above Class A, and Chavez just completed a month-long stint as the interim manager of Triple-A Salt Lake.
Who will be the Angels catcher in 2019? Will it be Arcia or Briceno, or will they try to get someone like Realmuto?
-- Caleb H., Anaheim

I think the Angels will look externally to find a starting catcher for 2019, but or could wind up sticking as the backup. J.T. Realmuto is a potential trade target, but he will command a big haul since he's a 27-year-old All-Star catcher who isn't eligible for free agency until 2021. If the Angels aren't willing to dig into their rebuilt farm system to land someone like Realmuto, they could explore some free-agent options, including , and .

, , J.A. Happ and Charlie Morton will likely headline the class of free-agent pitchers this winter, so the Angels could choose to pursue one of them. , and will also be available.