Assessing 2023 MLB front offices: Perry Minasian and the Los Angeles Angels' wacky season

Perry Minasian and his Los Angeles Angels front office went through a third straight season of frenetic, but mostly unproductive, activity leading to no postseason appearance..
Nov 8, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian answers questions
Nov 8, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian answers questions / Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

Perry Minasian front office WAA impact for Los Angeles Angels: -4.6 games. Rank in MLB: T-22. Rank in division: 4.

When the Angels fired manager Phil Nevin at season’s end, it was noteworthy that general manager Perry Minasian survived the purge. That may not hold for many more seasons.

Minasian certainly deserved as much blame as Nevin for the Angels’ failure to contend in 2023, and probably more. The numerous personnel moves made by Minasian since the conclusion of the 2022 postseason had a negative impact on Angels performance in 2023, and his prior-season prep work wasn’t any better.

The 2023 season represented Minasian’s third as chief exec of Angels baseball operations. As measured by the value of the Wins Above Average of his personnel decisions, he has yet to produce either a positive short-term or long-term impact on his team in any of those seasons.

WAA is used in this series of front office evaluations because it is a zero-based version of WAR, therefore enabling valid approximations of impact against wins and losses.

If Angels ownership is serious about their team, the negative direction in talent procurement Minasian has created can’t last much longer.

Since the conclusion of the 2022 postseason, Minasian and his leadership team made a healthy 62 personnel moves affecting a major league roster. Twenty-seven of those moves worked to the benefit of the Angels, but another 29 were negative (six had neutral value). The sum total of that short-term impact on Angels’ 2023 fortunes works out to -4.6 games.

Meanwhile, the long-term impact of Minasian’s decisions (that’s the impact of decisions made prior to the end of the 2022 postseason) amounted to -7.1 games as measured by WAA.

That movement in the wrong direction is nothing new for Minasian, and goes a long way toward explaining why the Angels have so consistently failed to play serious late-season baseball. Here are his short-term and long-term impacts for the three seasons since his hiring as general manager.

                Short term          Long term

2021       -11.3                      NA

2022       - 9.7                        -2.4

2023       - 4.6                        -7.1

The focus in Anaheim is always on Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, two legacies from the previous administration. The question regarding Minasian is what he has done to augment those inheritances. These are the most meaningful actions he took in 2023.

He executed a June trade with the Mets that brought infielder Eduardo Escobar to Anaheim in exchange for two prospects. Escobar batted .219 in 59 games and produced a -1.8 WAA impact.

In November, he traded three prospects to the Brewers for outfielder Hunter Renfroe, who was supposed to provide a power supplement to Trout and Ohtani. But Renfroe managed just a .242 average in L.A. and, although that came with 19 home runs, his overall production was so bad that, in August, Minasian cut his losses, waiving Renfroe to Cincinnati. Net impact on the Angels of Renfroe’s presence: -1.6 games.

In June, Minasian became the latest GM to fall for the siren song of Mike Moustakas. In 250 plate appearances, Moustakas hit .236 with eight homers and 31 RBI, a -1.4 WAA impact.

He signed free agent pitcher Tyler Anderson for three years at $13 million per year. Anderson rewarded that faith with a 6-6, 5.43 ERA season in 25 starts, all of that translating to -1.0 WAA.

Here’s the short-term and long-term statistical profile on Minasian’s 2023 performance as Angels general manager. All figures reflect Wins Above Average

Acquired by trade, waiver claim or purchase

  • Since October 2022: 9 players, -6.4 net impact
  • Prior to October 2023:  6 players, -0.7 net impact

Signed as a free agent or extended for multiple seasons

  • Since October 2022: 16 players, -1.8 net impact
  • Prior to October 2022: 3 players, -0.9 net impact

System products

  • Since October 2022: 16 players, +0.1 net impact
  • Prior to October 2022: 2 players, +0.6 net impact

Traded away, waived, sold, released or lost to free agency

  • Since October 2022: 22 players, +3.5 net impact
  • Prior to October 2022: 11 players, -6.1 net impact

The one bright spot for Minasian’s 2023 operation was a farm system that yielded 16 new faces, seven of whom delivered at least a modestly positive impact. Probably the most promising of those was August call-up Nolan Schaunel, who hit .275 in 132 chances. Infielder Zach Neto and pitcher Cole Silseth also showed potential.

Minasian survived 2023 with a year-end vote of confidence from management. But if he isn’t on shaky ground, he ought to be. For the third straight season, Minasian failed to show a discerning eye in his pursuit of talent. That’s a bad trait in a general manager.