Angels still have work to do as Winter Meetings come to an end – Press Enterprise

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Whether the Angels end up keeping Shohei Ohtani or not, general manager Perry Minasian believes they made some progress toward reshaping their roster during the Winter Meetings.

“As we sit here today, I feel there’s ways to improve that are closer today than they were yesterday,” Minasian said Wednesday morning. “We’ll see what happens the rest of the way.”

Although there is always a spotlight put on the three or four days that baseball executives and agents convene for the Winter Meetings, and even more so this year with the anticipation of an Ohtani decision, Minasian said it’s important not to focus too much on what happens here.

“There’s something about the Winter Meetings, the dialogue is maybe a little different,” Minasian said. “So you try to take advantage of that and do as much as you can, to get as much as you can get accomplished and not necessarily push everything past the finish line, but a lot of the dialogue here is to set things up going a week from now two weeks from now a month from now.”

So far the Angels agreed to terms with right-hander Luis Garcia on a one-year, $4.25 million deal, but even that isn’t official because he has to pass his physical.

As for Ohtani, by most reports the process has boiled down to the Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants and Angels.

The baseball world would be surprised if Ohtani decided to stay with the Angels, even though many within the organization have believed all along they had a realistic chance at keeping him because of his comfort with the organization.

Minasian has been careful to say nothing about the Angels’ pursuit of Ohtani, which is no different from his policy on all player moves.


Infielder David Fletcher remains a part of the organization even though his role has been diminished since early last season. He still has at least two years left on his contract, and Minasian said he’s hoping Fletcher will rebound and be productive in 2024.

“I am looking forward to see how he looks this spring,” Minasian said Wednesday. “I know he’s motivated. He’s been a good player before. We saw flashes of it last year. Now it’s just to be a little more consistent.”

Fletcher, 29, had surgery to repair a torn core muscle in 2022, and Minasian said the further removed he is from that, the better he can be.

Fletcher, who spent most of 2023 in Triple-A, has said repeatedly that he didn’t feel his health was an issue this past season. He also said he doesn’t think he needed to change anything about his offensive approach. Fletcher hit .292 with a .732 OPS from 2018-20, and .259 with a .622 OPS from 2021-23.

“I know he’s putting work in,” Minasian said. “He wants to help the team. When he’s right, he’s a good player. He’s a winning player. He can do a lot of things on the field to help you win baseball games.”

At the moment, the Angels presumably have third baseman Anthony Rendon, shortstop Zach Neto and second baseman Brandon Drury as the starters at the positions that Fletcher plays. Fletcher and Luis Rengifo are both in line to be utility players.


The Angels’ top two catchers are set to be Logan O’Hoppe and Max Stassi, but Matt Thaiss will be out of options, which raises the prospect of keeping him as a third catcher.

Minasian said that’s a possibility, particularly because Thaiss can also play first, third and even second. Having Ron Washington, who is an expert at getting the most out of players defensively, could help make Thaiss more proficient in the infield.

Thaiss, 28, hit .214 with a .659 OPS last season. He had a .754 OPS before slumping over his final 92 plate appearances.

“Offensively, early on he swung the bat really well,” Minasian said. “Over the last month or so, he was banged up. He wasn’t as productive. But it’s a good at-bat every time he goes up there, so there’s a lot of upside there.”

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