The Los Angeles Angels underachieved for the fifth consecutive season in 2019, finishing the year with a miserable 72-90 record despite fielding a solid lineup that headlined by perennial MVP candidate Mike Trout.
The Halos haven't had a sniff of postseason ball since the 2014 season and with Trout entering his prime right now, the club only has so much time to assemble a contender for the face of the franchise. If L.A. wants to make it back to playing October baseball in 2020, the front office will need to be aggressive in free agency and do what ever it takes to surround Trout with the talent he needs to win.
Here are three players Los Angeles should try acquire this offseason to improve its chances of playing in October.
1. Gerrit Cole, SP, Houston Astros
The Los Angeles Angels' rotation was abysmal in 2019, finishing the year with a 5.64 collective ERA (No. 29 in MLB). Clearly, a frontline starter is a serious need heading into the offseason and while he won't bring about a complete fix, signing Gerrit Cole would exponentially improve the Halos' rotation. The free-agent Cy Young Award contender is coming one of the best pitching season in recent memory, going 20-5 with a AL-best 2.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and an MLB-best 326 strikeouts (212 1/3 innings). A Southern California native, it's well-spread rumor that Cole could choose to return close to his home town. The Angels are no stranger to headline-grabbing moves in free agency and if they find a way to meet Cole's asking price, doing so would provide their rotation with the ace its been searching for.
2. Wade Miley, SP, Houston Astros
Based on just how terrible L.A.'s pitching was last season, it's hard to believe that they wouldn't double-dip for a starter this offseason. Wade Miley isn't as talented as Cole by any stretch of the imagination, but he's an affordable, serviceable arm that can shore up at the back-end of the Halos' putrid rotation. The 33-year-old southpaw has been a an above-average back-of-the-rotation starter over the past couple of seasons, posting a 19-8 record with a respectable 3.52 ERA since 2018.
3. Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF, Chicago Cubs
The Halos have a hole in right field now that Kole Calhoun is expected to hit free agency and while 20-year-old prospect Jo Adell is the favorite to assume the role, the organization might think it's best to keep him down in the minors for another year or two of seasoning. That being said, signing Nick Castellanos would be an excellent way to address their need in the outfield. Castellanos had an excellent 2019 season split between the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs, slashing .289/.337/.525 with an MLB-best 58 doubles, 27 homers and 73 RBI on the year. Adding that kind of production to a lineup that already includes Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout would give the Angels more than enough firepower to contend in the AL West.
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Mike Esposito is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Esposito also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username espo6891. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.