The Los Angeles Angels falling short of the Postseason is a yearly tradition, but in 2023, it might've been the most painful collapse yet. With Shohei Ohtani's contract expiring at the end of the season, the Angels' front office decided not to trade the two-way superstar, instead aggressively buying at the Trade Deadline, acquiring Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, CJ Cron, Randal Grichuk, and many others for one last run with Ohtani, hoping he would agree to a long-term deal to remain in Anaheim.
It really was an all-or-nothing gamble from Perry Minasian and Angels management, as their already weak farm system was crippled even further, with the departures of top catching prospect Edgar Quero, left-hander Ky Bush, and many others. Not only did the Angels fail to reach the Postseason for the 9th consecutive season, but they also collapsed immediately following the Trade Deadline and placed most pending free agents on waivers to clear payroll and avoid the luxury tax.
After such an abysmal end to the season, and the farm system decimated, the suffering in Anaheim sees no end in sight. As Ohtani's departure is all but inevitable, the Angels will likely have to undergo a full rebuild. Lifelong Angel Mike Trout might be on the trade block with the Halos potentially trying to recoup prospect capital.
While pitching has long been a concern during Mike Trout's tenure, the Angels have churned out several young starting pitchers with tantalizing upside. As the Cardinals continue to search for starters both in free agency and on the trade market, St. Louis and Anaheim may look to team up again. The Angels have a significant trade history with the Cardinals, so a move would be far from unprecedented.
If the Angels do choose to rebuild, it makes them the perfect trade partner with the Cardinals, as the Marlins, Mariners, Rays, and even White Sox have aspirations of contending in 2024. Even though the Cardinals have plenty of proven Major League talent to swing trades with those other teams (such as Nolan Gorman, Brendan Donovan, and Tommy Edman), trading prospects who are not yet Major League ready is definitely preferred. So, which Angels pitchers would make sense in St. Louis?