Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno has never shied away from adding stars to his roster. Over the years, Moreno has greenlit free-agent deals for the likes of Albert Pujols, Vladimir Guerrero, Justin Upton, and Anthony Rendon, to name a few. If Moreno had gotten his way over the offseason, the Angels may have added another household name to their roster: shortstop Trea Turner.
Earlier this week, Moreno revealed to Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci during a wide-ranging interview that he pressed general manager Perry Minasian about pursuing Turner over the offseason. Minasian, for his part, argued that the Angels would be in a better position by taking a portfolio approach as a means of addressing other weaknesses on the roster and improving their overall depth level. Here's what Moreno told Verducci about it:
"I kept saying, 'What about Turner? Is this what we need?'" Moreno says. Minasian, he says, told him the Angels had multiple needs besides shortstop.
"I said, 'You mean you need more than just Turner?'" Moreno says. "He says, 'Yeah.' So, it's about the distribution of money. Is it one player who makes a splash? Or is it, 'Hey, we can spend this money on two or three players.'"
While Turner signed an 11-year pact worth $300 million with the Philadelphia Phillies, the Angels instead added seven players to their projected Opening Day roster: starter Tyler Anderson, outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Brett Phillips, infielders Brandon Drury and Gio Urshela, and relievers Carlos Estévez and Matt Moore. Those seven players will make close to $60 million combined in 2023, or nearly double what Turner will take home this season.
The Angels are expected to deploy some combination of David Fletcher and Urshela at shortstop early this season. Zach Neto, the club's first-round pick last summer, could also reach the majors before long. CBS Sports recently ranked Neto as the 46th-best prospect in MLB, writing the following:
The Angels drafted Neto with the 13th pick in last July's draft before ushering him quickly to the Double-A level. He held his own there, hitting .320/.382/.492 in 30 games. Neto was well-regarded by scouts heading into the draft thanks to his baseball IQ and his ability to hit the ball hard at a good angle without selling out or sacrificing his contact chops. He's also a tolerable shortstop, though he's likely to be viewed as a second-division player there. The Angels seem likely to continue their aggressive timetable with Neto, making him a compelling candidate to debut early in the 2023 season.
Whether or not the Angels' offseason strategy will lead to a better year is to be seen. Los Angeles has not made the playoffs or posted a winning record in five seasons of employing both Trout and Ohtani on the same roster. Some notable projection systems seem to think that will change this year.