Angels ready to be aggressive at Meetings

December 4th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Rhett Bollinger's Angels Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The MLB Winter Meetings are officially here and things should start to heat up around the Majors.

Angels general manager Perry Minasian and the rest of the club’s front-office staff arrived at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center on Sunday, and they will continue to conduct business with other clubs and agents until the Winter Meetings wrap up on Wednesday.

The first order of business was the announcement that longtime manager Jim Leyland was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. Otherwise, the first day was mostly front-office members, media members and agents arriving from around the country, with things expected to ramp up on Monday.

Angels manager Ron Washington is set to meet with the media on Monday at 2:20 p.m. PT, while Minasian will hold daily sessions with the media on Monday and Tuesday. The Winter Meetings conclude on Wednesday with the annual Rule 5 Draft. So stay tuned to this week, as there will be plenty of coverage from Nashville.

The Angels also got a bit of good news on Sunday, as they found out they finished the season under the $233 million Collective Bargaining Tax (CBT) threshold. The club went over the luxury tax when it acquired several players at the Trade Deadline, but Los Angeles was able to get back under it in late August after losing veterans Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López, Dominic Leone, Hunter Renfroe and Matt Moore on waivers.

Now that the Angels are under the tax, they will receive a selection after the second round instead of the fourth round if two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani signs elsewhere. The club extended a qualifying offer to Ohtani on Nov. 6, which he rejected on Nov. 14.

The Angels also can now go above the CBT this offseason without being repeat offenders. Second-time offenders are subjected to a 30 percent tax on their payroll, but now they won’t be punished if they decide to go above that mark this winter. But it’s unclear if the club plans to go above that threshold or have its payroll hover near it, which has historically been the case.

But the Angels obviously would love to bring back Ohtani on a new deal, and if they bring him back, they would likely go above the luxury tax threshold in attempt to build a winner around Ohtani. He could sign soon, according to’s Jon Paul Morosi, who posted on Sunday that Ohtani could sign within the next week.

Ohtani’s free agency remains the biggest storyline in baseball, and many believe it’s a reason why the market has been slow so far this offseason, as other clubs and players are waiting on Ohtani to make his decision.

Even if the Angels don’t re-sign Ohtani, they are expected to be aggressive in both free agency and on the trade front. Minasian has made it clear that owner Arte Moreno has no plans to rebuild or retool this offseason, so Los Angeles will do what it can to add to a roster that won 73 games in each of the past two seasons.

The Angels have plenty of needs, and they can now start to address them or at least lay the groundwork for future signings and trades at the Winter Meetings. It’s been a slow offseason across the Majors, but all indications are things will start to sizzle this week in Nashville.