Some items from Anaheim…
- Shohei Ohtani received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right elbow in October, Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci reports. The treatment was simply “a preventative measure,” in the words of Ohtani’s agent Nez Balelo, who added that PRP injections are commonly used in such a fashion in Japanese baseball. Teams were made aware of the treatment during Ohtani’s recruitment process, and the two-way star underwent a physical to confirm his health to any interested clubs. One team official said that the PRP information “didn’t change the equation” about Ohtani’s value and potential.
- The Angels are still weighing the possibility of using a six-man rotation next year, though GM Billy Eppler told reporters (including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register) that they’ll make their decision before Spring Training. Using a sixth starter would provide extra rest for the rotation, which is no small concern given how most of the Halos’ starters have undergone significant arm injuries in recent years. In Ohtani’s case, pitching in a six-man rotation would more closely resemble his regular schedule in Japan, while also allowing him more time to recover from getting at-bats as either a DH or outfielder when he isn’t on the mound. Eppler suggested that Los Angeles could also use J.C. Ramirez as a reliever and frequent spot starter, rather than a full-on six-man rotation.
- The club still plans on a seven-man bullpen, so if the six-man rotation idea comes to fruition, that will leave the Halos with 13 pitchers on the roster and one less spot available for a bench player. With a shorter bench a possibility, the Angels will be focused on adding a versatile player that could fill more than one of their remaining needs (backup shortstop, fourth outfielder, and right-handed hitting platoon third baseman). “I always put a premium on flexibility, but it might be a little bit more now,” Eppler said. Fletcher suggests that Eduardo Nunez or Freddy Galvis could be fits for the Angels in terms of handling multiple duties.
- “Some industry chatter” has identified the Angels as a potential trade partner with the Rays for Evan Longoria, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. It isn’t yet clear if the Rays will even be shopping their longtime star, though if they did, it would take a shift in the Halos’ thinking for them to pursue Longoria. Beyond the financial cost (Longoria is owed $81MM through the 2022 season), the Angels were planning to use Luis Valbuena and a right-handed platoon partner to handle the hot corner, while focusing more attention on their more pressing need at second base. Adding Longoria as the everyday third baseman would create a logjam for first base/DH playing time between Valbuena, Ohtani, Albert Pujols, and C.J. Cron, though potentially Valbuena or Cron could be dealt, maybe even as part of a Longoria trade package.