As the MLB offseason starts to kick into high gear, there will be a lot of eyes on the Los Angeles Angels’ free agency targets in 2023. Now that Shohei Ohtani to the Dodgers is official, the Angels have lost the best player in baseball from their roster. So what is the Angels’ offseason plan as they try to rebuild without Ohtani?
Angels free agency targets 2023
It should go without saying that the Angels’ free agency targets in 2023 will revolve around pitching. The Angels always seem to lack the depth to put together a stable rotation.
It has become their biggest weakness in recent years and the biggest reason why they failed to make the playoffs while having both Ohtani and Mike Trout. But there are also open spots in the Los Angeles lineup, especially since Ohtani won’t be their primary DH anymore. With so much left to do this winter, let’s look at some free agents who should be on the Angels’ radar.
Now that they have Ohtani, the Dodgers won’t be trying to re-sign J.D. Martinez. That means he’ll be free for the Angels to pursue him. At age 36, Martinez isn’t the same slugger he was in his prime.
But that also means the Angels won’t need to commit to a long-term deal. He also had 33 homers and 103 RBI with an OPS of .892 in 113 games for the Dodgers in 2023. He still has something left in the tank and could fill Ohtani’s DH role. The Angels could also sell him on staying in Southern California, making him an obvious target.
If the Angels wanted to go after a younger DH who will require more of a commitment, Jorge Soler would be an obvious target. He’s a few years younger than Martinez and slammed 36 homers with an OPS of .853 in Miami last season. The caveat is that Soler has had some injury issues in the past, hindering his power numbers.
On the other hand, he had a season with 48 homers in Kansas City back in 2019. Soler can also play the outfield a little more than Martinez, giving the Angels some flexibility if they have injuries.
Ohtani isn’t pitching in 2024, so the Angels were going to have to add some rotation pieces this offseason anyway. Why not add another Japanese pitcher like Shōta Imanaga?
The crafty lefty, who is nicknamed “The Throwing Philosopher”, probably doesn’t fill the Angels’ need for an ace. But he should be an affordable mid-rotation starter. Imanaga is a proven pitcher in Japan who should have a relatively quick adjustment to the big leagues, especially since his control and intelligence should match up well against MLB hitters who are more aggressive than the hitters in Japan. Imanaga is a little under the radar but would undoubtedly be an asset in the LA rotation.
If the Angels feel the need to sign an ace and are willing to open their checkbook, Blake Snell is the best remaining target on the free-agent market.
After spending the last three years in San Diego, the Angels offer Snell the chance to stay in Southern California. He also gives the Angels instant credibility in their starting rotation. Of course, the market for a pitcher like Snell is bound to be crazy after his 2.25 ERA in 32 starts gave Snell the second Cy Young of his career. But if the Angels are serious about adding an ace, Snell is the guy they want.
Among relievers on the market, Jordan Hicks is arguably the best available and an obvious target for the Angels. While he comes with some injury concerns, Hicks is only 27, so he has plenty of time to grow out of those injuries and become a more reliable late-game reliever.
There’s no doubt that Hicks has the stuff to be an elite closer, making him a great addition to another area of their roster that the Angels need to address this winter.