Los Angels Angels: Offseason Report Card


Brett Davis- USA Today Sports

Without a doubt, the blockbuster trade that brought defensive wizard Andrelton Simmons was the Angels’ most important acquisition this offseason.  His price was steep, but since Simmons still has five years of team control, it was a no-brainer for Eppler to pull the trigger. The two-time Gold Glove winner comes with a .983 career fielding percentage, and is a clear upgrade over longtime fan-favorite Erick Aybar.

Andrelton Simmons will be undoubtedly welcome in Anaheim if he keeps up this up: 

Signing veteran Cliff Pennington to a two-year, $3.75 million dollar deal was the Angels’ next move. Taylor Featherston had to remain on the roster due to his Rule-5 status, but once the season was complete, the Angels decided that Pennington would better suit the role. He will be a late-inning defensive replacement at second base, shortstop, and third base, a typical Mike Scioscia move.

With what seemed like a reunion with David Freese on the horizon, the Angels struck a deal with the Washington Nationals to bring Yunel Escobar to man the hot corner. After bouncing around in the past, Escobar had an impressive 2015 campaign, batting .314 with 75 runs scored. Under contract for one year with a $7 million team option, Escobar will act as a stopgap for either Kaleb Cowart or Kyle Kubitza until one, or both, are ready for the major leagues.

To fill the hole Chris Iannetta left behind the plate, the Angels signed veteran catcher Geovany Soto to a one-year, $2.8 million contract, complementing the young Carlos Perez. To patch the left-field hole, Eppler was forced to get creative. Daniel Nava ($1.375 million) and Craig Gentry ($1 million) were signed to platoon and provide quality defense. With Gold Glove outfielders Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun manning center and right, respectively, the Angels can afford to be a little weaker in left field. 

Other additions include Todd Cunningham, Bobby LaFromboise, Rob Rasmussen, Ji-Man Choi (Rule 5), Rafael Ortega, Deolis Guerra (Rule 5), Al Alburquerque, and Rey Navarro. As most of these players come without minor-league options remaining, they may fill bench or bullpen roles. These players were chosen due to their versatility in the infield, outfield, or swingman-type abilities on the mound. Although the team is still weak offensively, versatility and depth (besides the lack of quality prospects) will keep the Angels in the hunt for another AL West title.

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