Los Angeles Angels Top Free Agent Targets To Surround Ohtani & Trout


The entire baseball world would love to see Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani in the playoffs. But the Los Angeles Angels would seem to be a long shot once again in 2022, unless they make a huge splash in free agency. 

It wouldn't be beyond them, as they've been known over the years to hand out massive (though sometimes ill-advised) contracts. See: Anthony Rendon, Albert Pujols. 

Once again this year, the Angels' biggest need is pitching. And plenty of it. Aside from Ohtani, the starting rotation is a disaster. The Angels finished 22nd in baseball in starters' ERA (4.78), and 26th in starters innings pitched. 

General manager Perry Minasian was clear about where his focus lies this winter, with his comments at the GM Meetings this week. Frontline starting pitching is tough to acquire. It’s very difficult,” said Minasian. “That being said, we’d like to significantly improve our rotation. That’s an area where we’ll definitely look for a certain type of quality.

With Pujols' contract off the books, and only one more year of Justin Upton at $28M, the Angels will have some bucks to spend. Here's a look at their top free agent targets at this point, according to baseball sources:

Robbie Ray

The American League Cy Young front-runner is looking at a big long-term haul this offseason. He has swing-and-miss stuff that's unequalled, and a change in philosophy brought his career-long issue with walks completely under control in 2021, leading to a 13-7 record with the Toronto Blue Jays, a 2.84 ERA, and 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings. 

Marcus Stroman

As noted by MLB insider Ken Rosenthal, Minasian has ties to Stroman, from when both were in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, so the Angels GM knows full well the fierce competitor and off-the-charts hard worker he'd be getting in Stroman. The career-best 3.02 ERA the Stro Show posted in 2021 would come in quite handy as well. 

Noah Syndergaard

Stroman's Mets teammate is another player Minasian knows all about from when Syndergaard was a top prospect in the Blue Jays' system. Because of his injury history, he could likely be had for a less substantial commitment. 

Justin Verlander

The same goes for Verlander, though he has already said he wants to pitch into his mid-40s. The former Tigers and Astros ace missed the last two seasons after Tommy John surgery. He'll be 39 by the time the 2022 season rolls around. 

It's also worth noting that there were rumblings that San Francisco Giants free agent Kevin Gausman would be offered a huge deal by the Angels to come down the coast. But that was shot down, hilariously, by Gausman himself, on Twitter.

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