The Los Angeles Angels have only signed one-year contracts this winter, perhaps to keep the team flexible enough to bring in Manny Machado or Bryce Harper.
The Los Angeles Angels are entering a crossroads in 2019. With Mike Trout‘s contract expiring after the 2020 season, the 2019 season might be the team’s last chance to convince the superstar to sign a lifetime extension.
If there is no success in 2019 Trout could force a trade prior to the 2020 season. It would be foolish for the Angels not to trade Trout at that point, as the return, even for a year of Trout, would be astronomical.
With all of that in mind, the front office’s choices have been interesting. To prevent any future problems, the Angels have signed Justin Bour, Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahill and Jonathan Lucroy to one-year contracts.
Those guys are decent players but they will not make or break a postseason push. If the Angels legitimately want to make a run, the front office is going to have to do something else.
Perhaps one of the reasons why the team is only signing one-year deals is so that it could afford another long-term deal past 2019. Perhaps they are the coveted mystery team in on Manny Machado and/or Bryce Harper.
There has been more speculation around Machado and Harper in the recent days that signals that the two have made up their minds. It appears as if Machado is set on signing with the Chicago White Sox and Harper either the Philadelphia Phillies or Washington Nationals.
But nothing has been announced, which raises the possibility of a mystery team that nobody has sources on. If there is indeed a mystery team, it makes a lot of sense for it to be the Angels.
First and foremost, the Angels are not scared of big splashes. The team signed Vernon Wells, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton to large contracts. And while they bit the Angels in the back, Harper and Machado are much younger and are a completely different case.
Heck, the Angels even emerged as the winners of the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes last season. The Los Angeles Angels have been a part of some of the biggest signings in the league in the last decade, to think they would shy away from Harper or Machado is silly.
Plus, nobody really saw the Angels as frontrunners for Pujols and the team did not emerge as a serious candidate for Ohtani until late in sweepstakes. None of the other signings that happen were really rumored before happening this offseason, either.
The Angels are good at playing their cards close to their chest and not letting information leak.
Is this a surefire thing? Not at all. However, it makes a lot of sense for the Angels to go after either guy.
It would give Trout a reason to sign long-term as he would have the prospects of either guy and Ohtani for the next several years. Harper would play right field in place of Kole Calhoun and Machado could play third base, moving Zack Cozart to second base.
I know that Machado wants to be a shortstop but Andrelton Simmons should not shift. It does not appear that he is going to get the contract that he wants. Perhaps the Angels outbid everyone else and that convinces him to transition to third base.
That is more of an unconventional fit but still one that the Los Angeles Angels can make happen. Even a $35 million AAV deal would put the Angels’ cap to $193 million. That is definitely toeing the line but the team would still be under the luxury tax and would have Kole Calhoun (and the other one-year contracts) expire after this season.
With just three more years of Pujols, the Angels can take their medicine and have a massive payroll for a year or two knowing that it will eventually be freed up.
If the Los Angeles Angels want to be a series World Series contender it might take a massive move for a superstar like Harper or Machado. If that happens, the Angels would undoubtedly have the best 3-4 hitters in the MLB.