The Angels have franchise corner pieces set in superstar Mike Trout and two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, but now the team needs to fill in the missing pieces to its roster in order to put themselves in a position to make the postseason for the first time since 2014.

The 2019 Angels were affected by injuries; Trout, Ohtani as well as Andrelton Simmons, Justin Upton and Tommy La Stella all saw shortened seasons.

With the Angels competing in the American League West, it might to be a long time before they or one of the other three division clubs overtakes the powerhouse Astros for first-place. But a more realistic goal for the Angels is competing for a playoff spot via the wild card next season. It'll be an uphill battle as they try to end their five-year long postseason drought. And if they can't take a step forward, then the Angels might end up with another early fall out of contention.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler -- whose contract option was picked up for the 2020 season -- has been focused on rebuilding the team's farm system for most of his tenure. Player development is something Trout cited in his reasoning for signing his contract extension before the start of the 2019 season. For a closer look at some of the Angels best prospects, including outfielders Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh who could pair with Trout as soon as next season, check out our RJ Anderson's Angels 2020 prospect list.

Now, here are some moves that the Angels will need to make before the 2020 season starts if they want to take a bigger step toward contending in the AL West:

Bulk up the rotation

After losing out on Patrick Corbin and J.A. Happ last winter, the Angels thought that signing Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill to one-year deals would be enough to put together a reliable starting rotation. Spoiler alert: That strategy did not work. Not even a little bit. This offseason, the Angels need to put their highest priority on building out a strong, steady rotation for the long-term. These are the season numbers (as of Sunday) for the Angels pitching staff:

  • 5.10 ERA (ranked 25th in league)
  • 572 total walks (ninth most in league)
  • 3.59 BB/9 (ninth-worst in league)
  • .254 opponent batting average (18th in league)
  • 264 total home runs, 1.66 HR/9 (third-worst in league)
  • 42.7 percent hard hit balls (worst in league)
  • 9,414 total balls thrown (worst in league)

A positive note is that Ohtani is set to make his return to pitching in 2020 after Tommy John surgery, and he'll be the top-of-the rotation starter for the Angels, but he'll face a restricted workload next season. So, it's crucial for the club to fill the other holes in their rotation. Internally, the Angels have a few options.

Jose Suarez, who was the Angels' No. 4 prospect at the start of the season, according to Baseball America. Suarez, who will turn 22 in January, made his MLB debut in June and struggled to find his footing although he showed improvement toward the end of the season. He began Saturday's game against the Astros by retiring the first 10 Houston hitters.

Then there's Griffin Canning, the rookie starter who looked like a front-end part of the Angels staff but fell to the injured list with elbow inflammation. Canning, 23, posted a 4.58 ERA in 90 1/3 innings pitched with a 96:30 strikeout to walk ratio.

Right-hander Jaime Barria and 22-year-old left-hander Patrick Sandoval are two more youngsters that could be in the mix for the Angels 2020 rotation. If veteran lefty Andrew Heaney can stay healthy -- he has yet to complete a season with the Angels without a stint on the injured list -- then his name will certainly be included in 2020 rotation talks. 

This season, the Angels didn't have a single pitcher make 20 starts this season. So overall, it's consistency the Angels desperately need for their rotation. 

Think big in free agency

Most of the Angels infielders are questionable when it comes to the 2020 roster (which we'll take a closer look at below), so a free agent the Angels could make a run at this winter is third baseman Anthony Rendon. Rendon posted season numbers worthy of NL MVP consideration, and would certainly be an improvement at third (Zack Cozart, 34, has been injury-plagued for two seasons now) for the Angels. 

On the pitching side of free agency, obvious choices include Gerrit Cole, who grew up in Orange County, as well as Zack Wheeler, Hyun-Jin Ryu or Jake Odorizzi. Cole's set to command a hefty contract, but the Angels should spend their money where they need it most. It'll be tough to sort out, especially with Kole Calhoun's $14 million contract option, but the club has to prioritize adding at least one front-line starting pitcher and Cole would be a great fit.

Signing any of these free agents would be best case scenario, but just as the subhead's title, the Angels should at the least be going after free agents this offseason and putting their name in the conversations for the top available talents.

Sign Simmons to long-term deal

Gold-Glove winning shortstop Andrelton Simmons' seven-year, $58 million contract expires after 2020. He'll receive $13 million for this season and $15 million next season.

This winter would be the best time for the Angels to secure him long-term. He's the best defensive shortstop in baseball, and he'd provide an easing presence for what could be a mostly new pitching staff in 2020 while helping the rest of the Angels infield improve. The Angels traded for Simmons before the 2016 season.