2023 Tale of the Tape Breakdown: Playoff Contenders, Mariners vs Angels
A few years ago, an article series like this would have seemed like a waste of time. Before 2022, comparing the Seattle Mariners to anyone other than the worst teams in baseball was a waste of time. Now? Now things are different. In part 2 of an 8 part series, I'm going to take a look at the teams that could potentially stand in the Mariners way of not only making the postseason but winning the American League.
Mariners Tale of the Tape: Los Angeles Angels but are actually in Anaheim
The Angels had a surprisingly quiet offseason for a team that has and will continue to face questions about its future. The losses of RHP Michael Lorenzon, RHP Archie Bradley, and C Kurt Suzuki are minimal and positions where the Angels can easily upgrade. While the offseason was quiet, that doesn’t mean the Angels didn’t make moves. I hate to say it Mariners fans, but the Angels sneakily got noticeably better.
The Angels made the majority of their moves during the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Their first move was signing former Mariner Tyler Anderson (3 years/$39million) away from the Dodgers, bringing more stability to the Angels rotation. Anderson was absolutely fantastic last season for the Dodgers, going 15-5 with a 2.57 ERA, posting a 163 ERA+ and a 4.3 WAR. While these numbers are complete outliers to his career, getting 80% of this type of production gives the Halos a strong trio of Shohei Ohtani, Patrick Sandoval, and Anderson.
After the quiet signing, the Angels made two trades in a matter of 4 days, acquiring 3rd baseman Gio Urshela from Minnesota and right fielder Hunter Renfroe from Milwaukee. Both moves cost minimal assets while the Angels grabbed two dudes that hit the ball well in 2022. Urshela, who brings positional versatility, had one of his best offensive seasons, posting an OPS+ of 121 while slashing .285/.338/.429, good for a 3.1 WAR. While Renfroe isn’t known for his fielding, he brings much-needed pop to the Angels lineup, hitting 29 homers while posting a 126 OPS+.
After a quiet couple of weeks, the Halos signed Rockies reliever Carlos Estevez to a 2yr/$14mil deal. While even Angels fans feel the price is a little high, Estevez could be a solid addition to a bullpen and rotation that finished 2022 on somewhat of a high note. A few weeks later just before Christmas, the Angels signed all-star utility man Brandon Drury to a 2yr/$17mil deal.
Anyone that has read my articles or paid attention to my social media knows how much I felt Drury was a perfect fit as a utility weapon for the Mariners. He had a fantastic season last year in both Cincinnati as well as San Diego and could have easily become the “Ben Zobrist” that Jerry Dipoto has repeatedly talked about looking for. Instead, he signs with his childhood team and now adds even more versatility, offense, and depth to the Angels.
And literally as I'm writing this, the Angels have just signed former Rangers bullpen arm Matt Moore. Moore had a fantastic season last year, has developed into a strong bullpen lefty that has dominant reverse splits against right handed hitters. Again, just another quiet, but solid move adding talent.