With the MLB offseason underway, there will be a lot of eyes on the Los Angeles Angels' free agency targets in 2023. Now that Shohei Ohtani has officially joined the Dodgers, the Angels are missing the best player in baseball from their roster. So what are the Angels' offseason plans as they try to rebuild without Ohtani?
Angels 2023 free agency goals
It goes without saying that the Angels' free agency goals in 2023 will revolve around pitching. The Angels always seem to lack the depth needed to create a stable rotation.
This has become their biggest weakness in recent years and the biggest reason they failed to make the playoffs while both Ohtani and Mike Trout were around. But there are also open spots in Los Angeles' lineup, especially since Ohtani will no longer be the primary DH. With so much to do this winter, let's take a look at some free agents who should be on the Angels' radar.
Now that they have Ohtani, the Dodgers will not try to re-sign J.D. Martinez. This means that he will be free for the angels to pursue him. At 36 years old, Martinez is no longer the same player he was in his prime.
But it 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 trade him in exchange for him remaining in Southern California, making him an obvious target.
If the Angels wanted to pursue a younger player who would require more commitment, Jorge Soler would be an obvious target. He's a few years younger than Martinez and slammed 36 batters with an OPS of .853 in Miami last season. The caveat is that Soler has had some injury issues in the past, which has hampered his power numbers.
On the other hand, he had a season with the 48ers in Kansas City in 2019. Soler can also play the outfield a bit more than Martinez, giving the Angels some flexibility if they suffer injuries.
Ohtani won't pitch in 2024, so the Angels will have to add some rotation pieces this offseason anyway. Why not add another Japanese pitcher like Shota Imanaga?
The crafty lefty, nicknamed the “Archer Philosopher,” may not satisfy the Angels' need for an ace. But a mid-cycle starter should be affordable. Imanaga is a proven pitcher in Japan who should have a relatively quick adaptation to the major leagues, especially since his control and intelligence should fit well with MLB hitters who are more aggressive than Japan's hitters. Imanaga is a bit under the radar but will undoubtedly be an asset in Los Angeles' rotation.
If the Angels feel the need to sign an ace and are willing to open their checkbook, Blake Snell is the best target remaining on the free agent market.
After spending the last three years in San Diego, the Angels offered Snell the opportunity to remain in Southern California. It also gives the Angels instant credibility in their starting rotation. Of course, the market for a pitcher like Snell must be crazy after Snell had a 2.25 ERA in 32 starts, giving Snell the second Cy Young of his career. But if the Angels are serious about adding the ace, Snell is the guy they want.
Among the relievers on the market, Jordan Hicks is arguably the best player available and an obvious target for the Angels. Although he has some injury concerns, Hicks is only 27 years old, so he has plenty of time to recover from those injuries and become more reliable late in games.
There's no doubt that Hicks has the stuff that makes him closer to elite, making him a great addition to another area of their roster that the Angels need to address this winter.