When I think of the Angels, I think of the greatest baseball player of all time, Tommy La Stella. Obviously he was injured and wasn’t able to finish out the year but he’s still the GOAT. The Angels have been unable to surround him with players for years and have been wasting his so called “prime”. But we all know a player of La Stella’s caliber doesn’t have a prime, he’s just good. But then there’s another guy named Mike Trout who’s also pretty good, but is it enough?
Alright don’t freak out I’m obviously kidding. I think I would lose whatever credibility I think I have if I kept going along with that. But all jokes aside, the Angels have been unable to surround Mike Trout with a contending supporting cast since he entered the league in 2011. There was that stint in 2014 when the Angels posted the best record in the AL. They quickly sunk back into the hole of unrelevantness, if that’s even a word.
To get to know the Angels you have to understand their owner, Arte Moreno. This man is cheap, he took the “Anaheim” name from the team in 2005 and changed it to the absolutely atrocious “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim”, so he could make more money off merchandise and embrace the Los Angeles name, even though the team plays in nearby Orange County. As an Orange County native it makes no sense because Orange County is NOT LA. You may be asking, “Jordan, if Moreno is cheap, why is he paying Albert Pujols $200 Million to do absolutely nothing?”. Well, I believe it’s those awful deals that made Moreno so hesitant to move forward with other deals. Deals like Josh Hamilton ($125M), Vernon Wells ($126M), and CJ Wilson ($77.5M), have soured the market for Moreno. He has consistently over payed players and it’s made him hesitant on doing it again.
Just last off-season the Angels had ties to every major starting pitcher on the market, even coming so close as to sources throwing out contract numbers, but the Angels never pulled the trigger. Instead they signed Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill to, you guessed it, more terrible deals. Harvey ended up getting DFA’d later in the year and Cahill was reverted to the bullpen.
But finally a gleam of hope for Angels fans, well kind of. This week, the team annouced they fired Manager Brad Ausmus, this coming days after the Cubs and Joe Maddon had parted ways. The Angels going out of their way to fire a Manager who really didn’t do bad his first year, and attempt to get a culture changer in Joe Maddon is unheard of. This is the same team that kept the same manager on for 20 years. If there’s one thing the Angels have done right, it’s they haven’t had constant manager changes. But they fired Ausmus after one year, completely out of character.
Clearly the Angels problems lie in the pitching staff. Billy Eppler even said this about their offseason plans:
For months, the team has been linked to Cy Young finalist, Gerrit Cole. Cole is an OC native and perhaps is the best pitcher on the market. The team has not explicitly said he is in their plans, but he has to be. If this team wants to win a World Series with Mike Trout, they need a revamped rotation and bullpen, starting with Gerrit Cole. They have already been agressive the past few offseason with the signing of Shohei Ohtani and giving Mike Trout his huge 12-year extension. But will Eppler and Co. finally make bigger moves this offseason to surround Mike Trout with winners?