Whilst the Astros made a huge splash, acquiring Gerrit Cole, the Angels began to put their final touches on the 2018 roster with 2 low-key signings.

First, the Angels signed veteran catcher Rene Rivera. Rivera, 34, split his 2017 season between the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs, hitting a fairly pedestrian .252 average with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs. His defense is much stronger, though, as he threw out 37% of steal attempts in 2017 and carries a .991 fielding percentage over his career. Interestingly, FanGraphs ranked him higher than Buster Posey and Salvador Perez on defense. The deal is over one year, paying him $2.8M to backup Gold Glover Martin Maldonado. “Maldy,” who caught a MLB-leading 138 games, should certainly benefit offensively from the extra rest, especially down the stretch. The addition of Rivera pushes Juan Graterol, their backup catcher last season, back to the minors, along with former starting catcher Carlos Perez. Also, they have Curt Casali, from the Rays, as minor league catching depth.

The Angels also added some much-needed outfield depth in veteran Eric Young Jr on a minor league deal. The Angels had no 4th outfielder on the 25-man roster previously, with minor leaguer Michael Hermosillo being the only other viable competitor. Young Jr surprised last season, hitting .264/.336/.418 in 110 at bats. He started in center field during Mike Trout’s absence, and brought a lot of energy to the Halos lineup. Lastly, his speed was on display, with 12 SBs in 15 attempts. At this point, his spot on the roster is far from guaranteed, but with a strong spring training, he could force his way up to the MLB roster once again.

What’s next?
The Angels hypothetically have almost every spot on their 25-man roster filled. While Young was serviceable last season, there is a good chance they grab an outfielder off the slow free agent market to backup their elite trio. Some possible solutions could be Austin Jackson, Jon Jay, or others. The Halos have also shown interest in Logan Morrison, but a union between the two sides seems less likely with Shohei Ohtani on board. As far as the bullpen, they could make another smaller scale move, like last year’s acquisitions of Bud Norris, Yusmeiro Petit, and Blake Parker. Here is a look at the roster, as it stands now.

Ian Kinsler (2B)
Mike Trout (CF)
Justin Upton (LF)
Albert Pujols (1B)
Kole Calhoun (RF)
Zack Cozart (3B)
Shohei Ohtani (DH)

Andrelton Simmons (SS)
Martín Maldonado (C)

Luis Valbuena (3B/1B)
C.J. Cron (1B)
Rene Rivera (C)
Eric Young Jr. (OF)

Garrett Richards (RHP)
Shohei Ohtani (RHP)
Tyler Skaggs (LHP)
Andrew Heaney (LHP)
Matt Shoemaker (RHP)

Blake Wood (RHP)
Jose Alvarez (LHP)
Keynan Middleton (RHP)
J.C. Ramirez (RHP)
Jim Johnson (RHP)
Cam Bedrosian (RHP)
Blake Parker (RHP)

New additions are indicated in bold
*Just missed roster: Kaleb Cowart (INF), Parker Bridwell (RHP), Nick Tropeano (RHP), Noë Ramirez (RHP)

If you have any Angels questions, hit me up on Twitter @noahlyons01 and follow @sixmanrotation for the latest articles and analysis.

 

(Image by MLBdailydish.com)

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