After the Angels signed Cody Allen last week, Billy Eppler seems to be done with his winter shopping list. According to Eppler, he needed the “blessing” of owner Arte Moreno to land him. He said that the Angels “stretched” the budget in order to lure him to Anaheim.
Eppler was quoted as saying, “This doesn’t happen without Arte’s blessing and Arte allowed us to get somebody we feel can close for our club in big games.”
Getting Cody Allen brings the Angels payroll to $182 million, including $6.5 million in performance bonuses for Allen, Trevor Cahill, and Matt Harvey. Last year, the Angels payroll was $176 million. Although Eppler said that the Angels weren’t exactly finished looking for ways to improve the team, he did say “We are at a point where we feel complete with our club. We feel very good with the names on our depth chart right now.”
With the additions of Justin Bour, catcher Jonathan Lucroy, and and infielder Tommy LaStella, Eppler said, “I think people realize how significant our offense is,” Eppler said. “Last season we were one of the top clubs in home runs (seventh in the majors),” Eppler said. “We wanted to address on-base percentage and we felt with some of the guys we’ve gone out to add that they can increase our overall on-base percentage, which was a goal of ours over the winter.”
So what does Eppler say about the bullpen now with new guys such as Luis Garcia, John Curtiss, and now Cody Allen?
“We feel pretty good about the bullpen and the depth of that bullpen. We saw what Hansel Robles did for us in the second half, the value that Ty Buttrey brought, Justin Anderson showing flashes a number of times over the 2018 season that he has the tools and power to pitch at the back of the bullpen. Luis Garcia historically has been able to pitch meaningful innings at the back end of a bullpen. Cam Bedrosian has shown historically he can pitch in bigger situations and has shown the stuff in the past to miss a number of bats. We feel pretty deep in those roles.”
Now that the Angels seem to be content with where their team is at, let’s look at what the Opening Day roster should look like:
Angels Starting Lineup
- Kole Calhoun (RF)
- Andrelton Simmons (SS)
- Mike Trout (CF)
- Justin Upton (LF)
- Shohei Ohtani (DH)
- Albert Pujols/Justin Bour (1B)
- David Fletcher (2B)
- Zack Cozart/Taylor Ward (3B)
- Jonathan Lucroy (C)
With regards to the offense, it will be interesting to see if Brad Ausmus keeps Albert Pujols in the cleanup spot like Scioscia did or move him down the order where he should be. Also, since Zack Cozart has two years left on his contract, third base is his job to lose unless Taylor Ward lights it up in spring training and Cozart continues with his disappointing start to his Angels career. It remains to be seen how many at bats Shohei Ohtani will get as DH, but Pujols could take those at bats while Bour plays first if Ohtani isn’t ready yet. David Fletcher will be fighting it out with Tommy LaStella for the starting job at second. Jonathan Lucroy will be the primary catcher with Jose Briceno as the backup.
Angels Starting Rotation
- Andrew Heaney
- Tyler Skaggs
- Trevor Cahill
- Matt Harvey
- Jaime Barria
With regards to the rotation, Andrew Heaney and Tyler Skaggs are talented, which has never been in question. The main concern is if they can stay healthy. The only durable and consistent one is Jaime Barria, which is why he should be able to make the rotation. However, if any of the starters go down, Felix Pena, Nick Tropeano, and Dillon Peters will follow in line respectively.
Angels Bullpen (Back-end)
- Cam Bedrosian (6th or 7th inning)
- Justin Anderson (6th or 7th inning)
- Ty Buttrey (8th inning)
- Cody Allen (Closer)
Angels Bullpen (Long Relievers and Mop-up Guys)
- John Curtiss
- Luis Garcia
- Taylor Cole
- Felix Pena
- Noe Ramirez
- Williams Jerez
The bullpen is a crap shoot outside of Cody Allen, who is a lock as the closer. Cam Bedrosian has shown shades of brilliance, while at other times has gotten hit hard. Expect Taylor Cole to take his place if he disappoints again. Ty Buttrey and Justin Anderson had solid rookie campaigns before fading in September. However, both are still young and should continue to trend upward.
Although Noe Ramirez has excellent breaking stuff, he really struggled for most of last season. Felix Pena had a nice run as a starter last year, and could end up being in the rotation if Matt Harvey can’t stay healthy or go deep in ballgames. Luis Garcia had some back luck in 2018, but has a tendency to miss bats. Williams Jerez will round out the bullpen as a mop up guy when the Angels are way behind in ballgames.
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