The Los Angeles Angels are making a push to be serious contenders in the American League for the 2018 season, it seems. Being in the same division as the defending world champion Houston Astros doesn’t make it easy to win games in the American League West, but maybe they are fighting for a wild-card spot. Last year, they fell just short of the wild-card game, missing it by just five games.
Losing Mike Trout (the best player in baseball) for 50 games last year and only falling five games short of the wild card was probably seen as a win for many Angels fans and their ownership. It showed the GM that this team is ready to win and just needs a couple more pieces to do so. GM Billy Eppler went and did just that.
The Los Angeles Angels won the sweepstakes this off-season that every team wanted to win. They got the Japanese star referred to as the Japanese Babe Ruth, Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani was set to be their pitching ace and potential Designated Hitter on his off days.
I say was set to be because recently, a report about a problem with the star pitcher's elbow has come out. There have been multiple reports that have come out saying that he has a small problem with his throwing elbow, that the Angels and any other MLB team were unaware of before signing him.
This elbow problem hasn’t been made a big deal or a little one really, it is known, and being looked at by the Angels' doctors now. They don’t think he will lose his time now, but they also don’t want him to keep pitching on it and shorten his career in the long run.
Regardless, getting Ohtani I think put the Angels into action and started their off-season in an aggressive mode. A mode where they know they can compete and getting Ohtani makes other free agents or big-name players want to come there more to compete because they see a chance of winning there.
Just last week, the Angels got Ian Kinsler, former second baseman with the Detroit Tigers, and Kinsler will play second base now for the Angels. The Angels also just signed free agent Zack Cozart. Cozart, former shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds, will add another nice piece for the Angels.
Cozart will play third base for the Angels because Andrelton Simmons has the shortstop position locked down. Those two acquisitions help solidify the Angels infield, as well as gives their lineup more depth beyond just Trout and Pujols.
With Ohtani playing DH, that would make Albert Pujols move out of the DH position, and play first base. That is where there are some question marks with the Angels defense, because of Pujols’ injuries and inability to move around anymore.
Regardless of the question marks and how everything shakes out with their lineup defensively, it should be known that the Angels are making moves and should be put on notice by the rest of the American League West, and the entire American League for that matter.