The Angels have already gotten ahead of some notable offseason deals, both in terms of the roster and his leadership at the club. In recent days, the Halos have both avoided arbitration with the reigning AL MVP and finalized their managerial situation heading into 2023.
Over the weekend, the club and two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million salary for next season. The year-long pact averted the possibility of what would have been the most fascinating arbitration case ever, with no clear precedent for a player of Ohtani’s talents. However, teams won’t need to go near a courtroom, with the two-time All-Star instead accepting the highest salary for a referee-eligible player in league history. league.
While the Halos are surely relieved to have Ohtani’s case settled, there are still many questions about his long-term future in Orange County. The 2023 campaign is the last year he’s under the club’s control, and Los Angeles heads into winter after another disappointing season. General Manager Perry Minasian met with reporters this afternoon (links via Athletic’s Sam Blum and Orange County Register’s Jeff Fletcher), and while he didn’t offer any details on the situation of Ohtani, he has unsurprisingly indicated that he would be delighted to keep him beyond next season. “I think it’s Step 1,” Minasian said of avoiding arbitration. “I hope there are more stages on the road. … I would like to have him here for a long time.”
This is obviously not a firm statement on Ohtani’s future, but it stands to reason that Minasian and his team will be looking to sign his representatives to CAA at some point over the winter. They will surely get calls from other teams asking for its commercial availability as well. The Halos would obviously have generated a lot of interest in Ohtani by this deadline, but owner Arte Moreno would have quashed any deal potential early in the process. Shortly after, Moreno announced that he was investigating the possibility of selling the franchise.
Minasian told reporters he was unaware of the status of the sale process, which is unsurprising since he is not involved in the decision. When asked if it would have an impact on the club’s budget, the front office chief was largely opposed. Minasian noted that the property “always wants to put a good team on the field” and “is really competitive” but did not reveal any details on the franchise’s payroll outlook for 2023. The Halos opened the 2022 season with a player payroll north of $ 188 million, a franchise record figure, according to contracts Cot’s baseball cap. They already have about $133 million committed to the books next year, according to Roster Resource’s estimate. This is before considering an arbitrage class that includes Luis Rengifo, Jared Walsh and Super Two qualifying Neighborhood Taylor and Patrick Sandoval.
Working in favor of Halos, however, is that Minasian and his group aren’t facing the loss of too many key contributors. Apart Kurt Suzukiwho has already announced his retirement, the Halos are waiting to see Michael Lorenzen, Matt Dufy and Archie Bradley hit the open market. Lorenzen is the only member of this group who has been relatively effective this year. Signed to a $6.75 million free agent deal, he threw a 4.24 ERA over 18 starts. Minasian suggested they could look to retain him through free agency, although he also noted the team was not firmly committed to redeploying a six-man rotation again next season. The Halos have run with a six-man roster in recent years, in part to reduce the workload Ohtani has to take on the mound. “I wouldn’t fix it out,” the general manager said of a five-man rotation. “But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There is a balance. Is the risk worth the reward?”
Minasian also addressed the coaching staff, noting that the club are still assessing whether to make any changes in this area. Phil Nevin will return as skipper after signing a one-year deal yesterday, but it remains to be seen whether his squad will stick around. Asked about the short duration of Nevin’s first permanent managerial contract, Minasian said the club “(see) where it goes next year and (go) from there, but my hope and expectation is that it’s a long term thing.” Of course, the long-term future of the organization will be determined in large part by the direction any new ownership group plans to take. The New York Post’s Jon Heyman suggests that the selling price for the franchise could be as high as $2.5 billion, although the identities of the groups currently in talks with Moreno and his staff have not been made public.