On a day dedicated to celebrating Shohei Ohtani, Mike Scioscia stood at the podium in front of Angel Stadium on Saturday and sent a not-so-subtle message to his bosses. “As we move forward, Billy and Arte aren’t done this winter to make our team the well-rounded team we can be,” the Angels manager said, a nod to General Manager Billy Eppler and owner Arte Moreno sitting to his right. Eppler simply smiled, no doubt aware that even though he’d already earned the Angels’ biggest headlines of the offseason by getting Ohtani, there is work to do as the Winter Meetings hit full swing on Monday outside Orlando, Fla. Ohtani bolsters the rotation and potentially the lineup, as a part-time designated hitter, but the Angels still have a shopping list topped by the need for one or two infielders. The Ohtani deal, however, slightly changed the direction of the search. “We have talked about a little different dynamic of position players and how we can pivot off (the Ohtani) acquisition and best manage 162 games,” Eppler said Saturday. The Angels’ need for a second baseman hasn’t changed, but now their criteria for a corner infielder has shifted. With Ohtani now occupying the DH spot semi-regularly, Albert Pujols is pushed to first base semi-regularly as well. That leaves Eppler to solve a puzzle at first and third. He has Pujols for about 50 games at first; Luis Valbuena at first or third, but not against lefties; and C.J. Cron at first. It’s likely the Angels can afford one player to fill in the gaps.
Angels still have holes to fill in infield as winter meetings begin
Orange County Register | Dec 11