The Los Angeles Angels Desperately need to Rebuild
Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are two of the best players in MLB right now. Playing under the bright, rich lights of L.A, their team can’t seem to understand the concept of winning. Bad contracts, no depth, and an incompetent front office will do nothing but waste Trout’s and Ohtani’s careers. The Angels need to tear it down and rebuild.
Possibly the best news Angels fans have heard in years is that owner Arte Moreno is exploring selling the team. After 20 years of owning the team, fans will have a chance to see a new direction of the Angels if a sale goes through. However, the damage throughout those 20 years will take a long time to repair.
Let’s start with contracts. Being in as big a market as L.A, handing out massive contracts has been no problem for the Angels. In March of 2019, they locked up Mike Trout to a mega 12-year, $430 million extension. While this deal was on the better end for the Angels, many of the past contracts given out weren’t as great.
Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Justin Upton, Gary Matthews Jr, and Anthony Rendon. All sound familiar, right? Players who in their primes were some of the biggest sluggers in the game. When they signed long-term deals with the Angels, however, these hitters were already at or near the end of their primes.
Pujols was given over $200 million at the age of 32. He was nowhere near the player he was in St. Louis, and after 9 seasons in L.A, the Angels only made the postseason with him once.
Hamilton, who was an MVP winner with the Rangers, signed a five-year, $125 million deal with the Angels in 2012. He was also 32. Hamilton only played with the Angels for two seasons, batting a mediocre .255/.316/.426. Once again, no playoffs.
Gary Matthews Jr. was given a five-year, $50 million deal to essentially do nothing. At the age of 33, Matthews was an Angel for three seasons and put up a whopping 0.0 WAR and PED allegations. While the Angels made the playoffs during his whole tenure, they only got as far as the ALCS. Oh, and Matthews was the final out of the ALCS in 2009.
Upton was traded to the Angels in 2017. At 30 years old, Upton signed a five-year, $106 million contract extension. Failing to stay healthy through the five years, Upton also saw no playoff appearances in L.A and only batted .232.
The most recent deal was Anthony Rendon. Following a World Series victory in 2019, Rendon signed a 7-year, $245 deal with the Angels. It has only been three seasons, and Rendon has only played in 155 games so far with the Angels. Three IL stints in 2021, followed by a season-ending surgery in 2022.
This seems to be an ongoing pattern in the Angels organization. Sign 30+-year-old veterans past their primes to mega contracts, only for them to underperform and make the organization look like a circus.
That gosh awful farm
So the Angels don’t know how to give good contracts. Do they at least know how to build a decent farm system?
No. No, they do not.
According to MLB.com, the Angels have the worst-ranked farm system heading into the midway point of the 2022 season. After acquiring catcher Logan O’Hoppe and drafting shortstop Zach Neto, the farm is slowly seeing improvement. Although, this team has much more work to do in order to revamp their farm.
So how can the Angels fix the direction of their organization? The simple answer is, that they need to rebuild. Not a small retooling, not a big offseason splash. We’re talking about fire sales. Trading half the roster, slashing down payroll and getting as many top prospects as possible. Wouldn’t that would mean trading stars like Trout or Ohtani?
While it may seem impossible, the Angels definitely need to try. Trout is more difficult to ship off with his contract, but someone like Ohtani? This is a player whose only comparison is Babe Ruth, a Rookie of the Year and MVP winner, and is connecting the market of baseball in Japan tighter.
The trade package for a player like Ohtani would be an insane ask. However, if teams like the Padres can do it with Soto, why can’t a team like the Dodgers, Yankees, or Cubs cough up the package to do it? Especially with Ohtani set to be a free agent in 2024, it would be a better long-term investment to shop him.
The Angels haven’t had a winning season since 2015. Haven’t made the postseason since 2014. If this organization wants any chance of becoming a serious contender, they need to blow this team up and rebuild.
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