Angels focus on youth movement after waiving 5 players and overhauling roster with young talent

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — When Perry Minasian arrived to take over as general manager of the Los Angeles Angels in November 2020, he immediately committed himself to improving player development.

He's about to get a glimpse of that progress for the remainder of the 2023 season following a dramatic roster overhaul that included five players being placed on waivers.

“For multiple reasons, we haven't played well,” Minasian said.

The Angels on Tuesday parted ways with right-hander Lucas Giolito, relievers Dominic Leone, Matt Moore and Reynaldo Lopez and outfielder Hunter Renfroe — and all have since been claimed by contenders, three joining the Cleveland Guardians.

And new faces arrived Friday for the series opener at Oakland, with touted prospect Kyren Paris set for his major league debut starting at shortstop and batting ninth. Also promoted from Triple-A Salt Lake were right-handers Jimmy Herget, Gerardo Reyes and Andrew Wantz, lefty Koton Ingram and infielder Michael Stefanic.

“To play right here in the Coliseum is going to be special,” Paris said.

Paris was set to become the 10th Angel to make his major league debut in 2023 and 61st different player used by the Angels this season overall, and he grew up in the East Bay suburb of Oakley cheering for the A's.

Right-hander José Marte — called up Thursday — would be No. 62.

Manager Phil Nevin reminded the 21-year-old Paris to “just go out and have fun.”

“I love seeing days like this, especially somebody coming to their hometown and getting an opportunity for their major league debut here,” Nevin said.

While shedding salary was a big factor, the Angels aren't below the luxury tax threshold even with all the players they let go, but declined to say how close Los Angeles is.

Minasian didn’t find it productive to second guess moves made at the trade deadline.

“At the time we made decisions we made, we felt like they were the right decisions,” he said. "Sometimes you do things that work, sometimes you do things that doesn’t.”

He also opted not to speak to the Angels after all the moves. Los Angeles sits in fourth place in the AL West.

“They understand where we're at. There's a lot of really intelligent individuals in that room who understand where they're at,” he said. “We have conversations along the way with certain guys but as far as addressing the team, no. It's part of the game and it's baseball, certain things happen, rosters change depending where you're at in the standings.”

Angels players joked around and were lighthearted in the clubhouse before heading outside for batting practice and pregame work.

Nevin, too, is seemingly taking all the change in stride as much as he's able.

“I'm meeting a lot of new people,” he said. “A lot of things I talk about all the time, relationships you create in this game are always special and each call-up and each player that comes here has a different story. You create different relationships with them, whether it's the young players or a veteran player getting another chance. I like it. Unfortunately we've had the injuries we've had, had some turnover and this has happened, but it's also part of the game.

"You don't anticipate these things starting. You tell them at spring training, ‘Hey, everyone in this room has a chance and there’s some guys that aren't even in this room right now who have a chance.' That's certainly come to fruition this year.”

Minasian certainly didn't sound concerned about how this roster overhauling might look for business in the offseason when it comes to signing prized free agents.

Including one of their own: two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who Minasian said will continue to hit with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow until he tells the Angels otherwise.

“I think this is a very desirable place to play,” Minasian said. “If you ask the people that play here and having the conversations I've had over the last two days, especially yesterday with some of the individuals that were given a chance to play ... there's a lot of positive things. I know we haven't necessarily played well over the last month, month and a half. With that being said, there are some good things happening. I think a lot of the players see it, recognize it.”