The story of the Angels the past decade is well-known and has been pounded repeatedly in the heads of fans.
Sub-.500 baseball for the past five years. No playoffs since 2014. No playoff wins since 2009. It’s been an incredibly dark stretch for the Angels organization, defined by extremely poor roster construction, bad contracts, an inability to develop from within, and a wasted stretch of the best player of his generation. Angels fans, and many baseball fans in general, are losing patience with an Angels team that seems to be content treading water.
Nothing the Angels have done so far this offseason changes that notion. On the heels of a disastrous 72-win season in 2019 and missing the expanded playoff party in 2020, the club has had the most boring of off-seasons. It’s not as if the club hasn’t spent any money or added a lot of players. They’ve checked both of those boxes. But the $28.95 million they’ve spent will go to seven different players, all of whom will be free agents at the end of the year.
Of that group, only José Iglesias (2.7 Wins Above Replacement) projects as a league-average player or better, according to the Fangraphs ZIPS projections. Raisel Iglesias is a strong addition and a legitimately great reliever but the volatile nature of relievers can at least give you pause. Four of those players – Alex Cobb, Alex Claudio, Dexter Fowler, and Kurt Suzuki – project near a replacement level and have a cumulative 1.5-win projection. As a whole, the seven players the club has brought in project for 6.4 WAR, which is a fairly good bang-for-buck investment given the price of paying for WAR on the open market. Craig Edwards, formerly of Fangraphs, had the cost of a win in free agency around $8 million in 2020. If you follow that math, the Angels are paying $28.95 million to get $51.2 million of value in these seven players.
Here’s the issue with this type of rationale, however. Operating solely from a cost-conscious perspective with a $$$/WAR emphasis doesn’t necessarily mean more wins. You may be getting better value from a sheer financial perspective but these additions in themselves are not actually moving the needle that much. Furthermore, you can argue that many of these additions probably represent minuscule, if not insignificant, upgrades over the other in-house options. Is Alex Cobb that much better than Patrick Sandoval, Jaime Barria, or Shohei Ohtani? Is Kurt Suzuki that much better than Anthony Bemboom? Is Dexter Fowler even better than Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, or Taylor Ward at this point?
The Angels are finding value in these one-year investments and the risk-averseness means they aren’t hemmed down to long-term deals. But I’m not actually convinced that they’re that much better than they were coming into the offseason. They’re certainly better to an extent and have created more depth but I’m not convinced that they’ve improved enough to create a real, meaningful difference. Given that they’ve acquired seven MLB players, it’s a fairly big disappointment to come to that conclusion.
Here’s why this satisfaction with treading water and being complacent is even more infuriating for the Angels and their fans. More than half of MLB teams are actively punting on this offseason, losing significant talent, or straight-up trying to lose. That includes teams within the American League West, with Houston and Oakland losing major talent via free agency and Seattle and Texas actively not trying to win. It’s been a major buyer’s market for the aggressive teams – Padres, Mets, White Sox, and Dodgers – and has opened a real market for teams trying to actively win. The Angels, meanwhile, are the rare team just sitting in the middle, not making major acquisitions but also not losing any major talent in the process.
This doesn’t even mention the insanely talented players who’ve switched teams this offseason. Francisco Lindor, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, and Lance Lynn have all moved teams this winter. Maybe you don’t think the Angels could legitimately make a move for those guys. That’s fair. What about Joe Musgrove for the rotation? Joc Pederson in right field? Ha-Seong Kim as a 25-year-old, everyday shortstop? It’s been an incredibly active offseason for some of baseball’s premier talents and the Angels have instead made fringe moves with capped upside.
You don’t need me to tell you again that the clock is ticking on the primes of Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. Trout turns 30 in August; Rendon 31 in June. While Trout is the best player of his generation and Rendon is a top-10 player in the game, Father Time comes for everyone, whether it’s from a performance or injury perspective. Right now, the Angels have an extremely good core in place. A peak Trout and Rendon, paired with Shohei Ohtani, David Fletcher, and Dylan Bundy is a great place to start from. Wasting this current window with two top-10 players would be an unforgivable offense.
There’s a lot of discussion about the amount of payroll coming off the books next winter and the subsequent “payroll flexibility”. The Angels will finally lose the Albert Pujols contract and only have three players on the book for 2022 (Trout, Rendon, Upton) with a $91.7 million payroll. It’s completely fair and justifiable why Angels fans, who are used to inflated payrolls and limited spending, would be excited about this. That same excitement might be tempered, however, when you realize that the club will need to overhaul the entire pitching staff, add an everyday shortstop, and possibly a catcher or outfielder. That same “payroll flexibility” will be significantly less than most assume and it’s unclear how Angels owner Arte Moreno will use that. And last time I checked, “payroll flexibility” was not an absolute for winning more games.
This overall complacency and inability to truly push the needle has been frustrating for a fan base that is hungry for better results. The clock is running out on the primes of two of baseball’s best players and an Angels team that is truly stuck in the middle of nowhere. There’s hope to be had in prospects such as Adell, Marsh, Reid Detmers, and Chris Rodriguez and more spending money next offseason. But the notion of trying to just “get by” again in 2021 and hope for better things in the future is a tiring notion.
Here’s hoping to an unexpected move(s) that can provide more optimism for Angels fans heading into 2021. In the meantime, things are feeling awfully similar to the past half-decade of Angels baseball.
The Angels are putting together a team on one year deals that might be able to make the playoffs. Seems like they are waiting for the Albert and/or Upton money to fall off before really trying to build a contender.
Will Arte’s first book be titled, “Regrets: Wasting Your Prime”
They’re finally going to get around signing GOOD players when Mike is on the verge of being 33. Fan•fuckin•tastic. Bottom of the cellar again this year. The Ohtani experiment failed. How fast can PM trade him to Seattle for a Jersey Felix Hernandez wore during his Cy Young years. Have every pitcher wear it underneath their jersey when it’s their turn to take the mound. Maybe they’ll capture some of that magic.
Oh, I know, I’m an idiot. I still put money down on the Angels to win the West.
Angels in 4…(years,decades,centuries)
I’m wondering why nobody here, (including myself) has ever been offered a job as a scout or GM… Perplexing, with all our brilliance. If you have, please introduce yourself. We have to have at least an Associate Scout in the group.
I was thinking more like assistant to the regional scouting manager.
Petition to Arte for the CtPG community to run the front office?
Day 1: “Awww f***! Outfield is our secret weakness! Holy shit this organization is a hobos shorts on fire! It’s an insult!”
Day 3: “Awww f***! They signed a solid defensive OF for 1.25M, what the f*** is wrong with them?! Now it is literally a scientific impossibility for our pitching to improve! Holy shit this organization is a hobos shorts on fire! It’s an insult!”
sure, but I’m thinking the Fowler trade plus Schebler or whatever his name is…or Marsh or Ward will have that OF spot covered at that level. If we sign 10 more OFs (ok, so we won’t, so I’ve exaggerated…probably) is that all good because we need an outfielder? How many is too many, if we have a limited budget?
Where, Oh Where art thou Mr. Ward? Maybe relearning the #2 position.
Lagares on a minor deal is fine. Another OF with not much left in the tank but “for the money”, our off-season anthem, provides depth. My gut says, never sees one pitch in the majors with the Halos
Perry is pretty much done, he is letting the market fall to him.
I think Lagares is fine as the 4th OFer and they kinda need him since Fowler/Upton can’t handle CF duties. I think my bigger issue is rolling with Fowler/Lagares in RF, which prooooobably isn’t going to be a very good duo.
What about the Schebler ?
Schebler’s a bit of a Spring gamble. If his shoulder is OK he could likely be better than Goodwin was, Fowler will be, etc etc. He can also play all three OF spots if need be and he’s a lefty bat. But, if his shoulder has gone the way of Cozart then he’ll be released. It would be a nice stroke of luck if we get 2017-18 Schebler but we will have to see.
and now even less money to bolster the pitching.
Should Lagares make the club that’s another $1.25mil.
Technically, since other options for this roster spot would be Schebler at $900,000 if he makes the club or Ward or Rengifo at about $600K, This move would really only add an additional $375,000 to $625,000 to the overall budget.
and we’ll only carry one extra outfielder so yeah, you’re right.
It’s not too bad a depth move by itself since the lack of good OF depth was pretty notable, although this makes you wonder:. Whatever happened to all the toolsy OF’s we’d been drafting if we can’t field a decent fill in or two from them? Surely, guys like Lagares or whatever Fowler had been lately should be easily replaceable within a decently run organization?
losing the 2020 minor league season makes it difficult to know who on our farm is ready for the majors.
Don’t forget Robel too
Excellent. A team can’t have enough .600’ish OPS outfielders in the mix
Truth be told, we all love to play amateur GM’s in the offseason, but nobody knows which teams will emerge. Not even the scouts who make the prospects list. There is no stat on the 6th tool, and that’s the one that most affects the other 5. David Eckstein was getting grades from 30 to 50 after spending 4 years in college ball. But scouts said he’d hang around pro ball for a long time because managers will love him as he will do the little things to beat you. Let’s face it, we need to find more of those kinds of gems.
How many years were the Yankees completely stacked on paper and they still miss the playoffs? How many times has a team nobody expected rose up, snuck in, and won their division? With one less guy and the $30 million he counts on the books gone- we’d all have ourselves a contender.
I am like a dog on a waxy floor for PACR in 10 days. It’s always one of my favorite days of the year, and this year more than ever. If we make another move or two, fantastic. If not, PLAY BALL.
I appreciate the optimism! We could sure use some of that.
Hate to say it, but I really don’t think there’s another surprise signing coming, unless Arte is willing to go over budget. What was the projected payroll for this year? 179M? And we’re at 174M? So that means the only way to sign a mid tier guy like Walker (my choice), Paxton, or Odorizzi without going over budget would be to simultaneously trade another player.
The way I see it, we don’t have any trade chips left. The only players we have that any other team would want and would provide us any salary relief significant enough to make room to sign one of the pitchers above are either Bundy or Heaney, both of which had a higher WAR last year than any of the three choices above. Anyone on our team who is appealing to another club is still either in arbitration or very cheap and wouldn’t free up any significant money. So consequently, acquiring guys like Alex Cobb is the best we can do.
I think we’re all arriving at the same conclusion, the chances of making the playoffs this season is just going to come down to luck. I’ve said it before, that was what happened in ’02. Career years from our current iterations of Washburns, Kennedys, Spezios, etc. That’s the only chance we have.
If a guy like Oderizzi is willing to come here on 3/34 or Walker on 3/30 we may go ahead and do it. They may see the value in going overbudget this year to sign a guy and extend Bundy in June but lock down two solid arms plus Canning for the near future.
I’d do it. It will only cost more later.
Arte signed off on going right up to CBT threshhold last year before he got cold feet and pulled out of the Joc/Stripling deal. So I’m hoping that option is there for this year (without the cold feet of course)
“Cold feet” is a kind way of explaining what happened.
More like Arte had a tantrum and turned over the Monopoly board just before trading Baltic Ave for St. Charles Place.
Thing is, we would have wah wah wanked our way through the season on that trade too because Peterson and Stripling sucked for the Dodgers and probably would have done worse for us.
I’d give Odorizzi that deal. He’s not going to command that much and he’s been a pretty consistently above-average and durable starter (2020 had some flukey injuries). A $10-13 AAV would be completely fine given the amount of payroll thats being unloaded next winter.
Just want to get this in before Odorizzi does sign. I’m thinking it’ll be more like 20 mil. We shall see!
I think the club does have trade chips but I don’t think they’re seriously willing to move Adell/Marsh.
I must say I’m surprised there hasn’t been a stronger push to package one of the younger starters (Sandoval/Barria) with someone like Jordyn Adams for a rotation upgrade. Maybe they have explored it but it seems like the obvious trade package to get that rotation upgrade that they desperately need.
80-82 looks good now … still waiting on that Scioscia W-dividend to kick in.
Could really use a flukey year where they win a bunch of one-run games despite being closer to a true talent .500 team.
The prevailing wisdom a couple years back was that Soth’s “in game decision making and lack of grit and fire” were costing the Angels several wins a year and low play off berths and that we’d have more wins simply by having a potato wear a hat and sit in his seat. Some of us are still eagerly awaiting the appearance of those wins.
while the wins would be nice I really want to see a potato wear a hat AND sit in the dugout. That’d be great. I think that could get me through an entire season even if we went 72-90.
especially if the TV guys keep checking in on it with a camera every now and again…. discuss what the potato’s options are if it wants to pinch hit next inning…. try to fathom the potato’s thought process on leaving the starter in. And of course, talk about how the potato mixes old school grit with new school analysis.
Here’s another dilemma concerning paying 7 guys 28.95M for a projected 3 WAR versus paying 1 guy the same amount for the same projected WAR: paying it to 7 guys means it all depends on all 7 of those guys performing as expected. Whereas, paying it to 1 guy, it all rests on that 1 guy to perform as expected. Which is better?
Great point. I’d also add that there’s a sweet spot in the middle. Say, you add 2-3 guys for around $30 million and then resort to adding guys on $1-2 million deals or MiLB contracts. Adding seven players, all of whom are very low-upside additions, seems like a great way to cap your upside.
True. If Perry had gone that route and signed fewer guys on slightly higher deals (which means more recognizable names), we might all feel a little at ease than we do now.
I don’t even necessarily need them to sign the absolute cream-of-the-crop FAs. I’m just surprised that the club has been very volatile in their acquisitions, either doing one-year deals or mega contracts. They don’t explore in that grey area (2-3 years) all that often.
yeah, though I have to wonder how many guys they talk to about such contracts that just don’t come here. It’s the same as Paxton, Walker and Oderizzi now. We could be in. So are the Mets, Phillies, Astros, Blue Jays, Rays, Cardinals, and so on….
A lot of the speculation I read in the media seems based on supposed fit, payroll flexibility, or just which names they have in their head as available.
I trust very little in the media knowing the thinking in the Angels FO. We have been notoriously tight-lipped, and I don’t see much evidence that this has changed. I don’t recall talk in advance for the Iglesias moves (either of them), Fowler, Quintana, or Lagares. All the hype about Bauer seemed to come from him or the fans – and the quashing of said hype by Maria Torres was also based on external (and known) factors. We sometimes get a late breaking (and accurate) report, but once wheels are significantly in motion.
I do believe that our FO has been doing due diligence, and checking in on, well, everyone. I just don’t think that is the kind of info we, as fans, will get.
Fingers crossed for Oddorizzi/Walker/Paxton + Rosenthal 🙂
3 guys for around $30 million? Hmmmm Thats an interesting plan. How about signing Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahill and Cody Allen?
This isn’t exactly the offseason we wanted, but if we sign another solid bullpen arm I still think this team could be a solid contender to win the division. I don’t like the last 2 trades. I think we could have found better players than that for just slightly more cost. But, those additions fill significant depth needs and keep players like Suarez/Adell/Teheran last year off the field. It is significant damage to your chances when you have guys like Suarez and Teheran giving up 5 runs in the first inning and Adell looking completely lost at the plate and in the outfield. We don’t have a strong rotation by any means, but if we have a strong bullpen to hold things down in the later innings, our offense is going to win us a lot of games.
I’ve been a promoter of raising the floor for the team so there are some aspects I like (both Iglesiases and Quintana). That said, there hasn’t been a single upside move that could potentially propel the team forward more. I was hoping for some combination of high-floor guys and high-upside guys but it’s instead been a very safe offseason.
Yes. For sure. I was hoping for that too. With all SP trades that happened, it boggles my mind that we couldn’t snag one of those guys. That would have been a major impact. But, nobody in this division has gotten any better and I would argue the ones we’re chasing (A’s and Astros) have gotten significantly worse. In my mind, our bullpen has gotten a lot better and while everything else is pretty meh, we do have more depth. Plus, some of our high upside prospects will contribute this year. I am excited about that.
The one that really gets me is the Darvish trade. We don’t know how the Cubs valued those prospects from SD but I don’t for one second believe we couldn’t have matched that.
Adding Darvish simply by taking on the contract would’ve fit in the budget if you substituted him out for Cobb.
I’ve already over-blabbed below about how I feel that spending to sooth the fans won’t get us anywhere and we need to build and build and build the farm and that that means probably a couple/few years of meh. Perry seems fairly smart, as do the guys he’s brought into the FO so I bet they have some sense of this as well.
Now, I am totally pulling this out of my ass, but here is what I would do to give us a little HOPE FOR COMPETATIVNESS while the pipeline gets built. With the large yet not that large payroll reset, etc over the next 2 years, etc. Maybe this is what the PTP crew is looking at as well….
1) The AL West does not have a clear BIG DOG in it for the next couple years. That’s good.
2) I look at certain teams, most of which were admittedly well ahead of us in the pitching department, but they still lend us some hope. I look at teams like the Brewers, Cardinals, Nationals, Twins, Indians, Cubs, etc. and of course the A’s. Most of these teams that made the play offs the last few years were not stacked. Sans the Nationals they didn’t have a rotation built of high end talent. Though these teams may have had stacked systems in 2014 or may have stacked systems now, their play off teams the last three years didn’t come together the way say the Padres or Rays have. What do they all have?
3) Strong core talent. They all, at the time of making the play offs, had some mix of three or four players that are star caliber. If you have those big dogs, the Sotos, Chapmans, Turners, Baez, etc then the “role players” you bring in, if they perform well, can get you into contention.
4) This, I think, maybe, is why the Angels keep trying to make splashes of various sizes. The core of Trout/Rendon/Ohtani (potentially)/Fletcher is pretty damn good. If you have this core and then you get a few Chase Anderson, Jholis Chacin, Jeremy Jeffress, Daniel Murphy, Howie Kendrick, old Cole Hammels, Brian Dozier, Adam Eaton, Tanner Rainey, Daniel Hudson and maybe an unexpected break out like Josh Hader you are suddenly competitive.
I think the Angels have been, and still are trying to build the farm (and failing thus far) while staying in a position where they can pull a “Twins” or “Brewers” type move into brief contention and then, hopefully, continue to contend with a developed farm.
This actually CAN happen for us without having to wait for 5 years of farm development. That would be nice. But there is just no way to see the 2018 Brewers coming. If somehow Ohtani, Bundy, Quintana, Iglasias, Mayer and…. Esteban Yan?…. suddenly all have ERA+ well above 100 while Suzuki, Walsh, Iglasias2 and Schebler all turn out to be 3 WAR players in addition to Trout/Rendon/Ohtani/Fletcher we’d be golden. Yes, we have always been in this “hope and prayer” mode for a while now, but I think this is what the Angels FO is trying to position themselves for in 2021 and the last two off seasons because it’s the only real option when you have to extend Trout and pay Pujols plus some other guys while having a desert waste land for a farm.
Still, though it could take 5 years to build a good farm and payroll flow, it’s not totally impossible for the Angels to have a couple good seasons before they actually get their house fully in order. We just aren’t going to ever FEEL like a sure thing going into ST for a few years probably.
Go ahead and be tired of this situation, the situation doesn’t give a shit, nor does it care about past mistakes like Wells and Hamilton. Where we stand now is we NEED fewer scum bags running our team. We NEED a player development system that will work set up. For now the ONLY way we compete is via unexciting players playing bigger. But we are set up so that this can happen. Signing Paxton, for example, may help with this, but there isn’t really any way to buy luck, so passing on Paxton and hoping Cobb can pitch isn’t really a deal breaker.
I think as long as the Angels are less than 20M from the Lux Cap with no farm and a bunch of broken expensive players this is the best tinkering PTP & Co can pull off and driving ourselves crazy because we didn’t get Tanaka is sweating a detail that won’t make or break anything given how much pure luck we need.
Gitch – this must be your off-season optimism. I think a lot of it is based on faith in Perry to be able to pull off the magic trick of building the farm while remaining competitive.
That’s Arte’s mantra. Build a strong farm while still fielding a competitive lineup. I think we all bought into this to some extent during the Eppler years – like it was something that could be done. I certainly shared that belief/hope. I bought into the ‘rebuild while remaining competitive’ party line.
After five years I am now convinced that this marketing based strategy is poppycock (thanks Sosh). It begets 10th-14th round picks which are pure crapshoots.
In essence you are espousing the same failed approach of the last 5 seasons based on a blind belief in Perry and his staff. I can’t go there. I believed in Eppler and his staff. I still believe Eppler’s failure was his buying into (being forced into) the rebuild while remaining competitive mantra.
I can’t go there. I have no faith that Perry will be able to pull off this magic trick any more than Eppler was not. I believe it is a marketing-first strategy rather than a baseball-first strategy and is therefore doomed to fail.
It’s not magic. It’s gonna take years of good work for Perry to succeed. It would take the same thing if Perry were to do a tear down. As a guy who has followed tear downs with the Reds, Padres and Pirates, I know that, especially now days post Cubs/Astros, it is about as much a crap shoot as trying it with picks 9-12. What ever the ditch the Angels are digging out of they will need PTP and his guys (and Arte) to do a very good job or else we get a ten year reboot like the Padres and Reds. Take a minute and actually look at the guys Perry has brought in. There’s a chance they suck, or that Arte stymies them, but all in all they are the type of guys I had hoped we hire. I just don’t think being willing to pay Trout/Rendon, or trade them for the crap package Colorado got for Arenado, is the tipping point on which our success three years from now hinges. The Angels can try for the “three stars and a prayer” play off team if they want, it’s not going to hamper their ability to draft and develop by all that much.
Arte’s Mantra? When Arte bought the team he inherited a farm system that was on the verge on being the best ranked system in the entire league. Most all of those players were drafted or signed under Disney’s tenure. When has Arte ever espoused a philosophy that would out spend or out man other teams player development programs? Since Stoneman’s retirement, other than the wonder draft of 2009 our drafts have been beyond disappointing and our international signings have been a joke. Everybody is now espousing a complete teardown. What good would that do if the system rebuilt on foundation of shit? Fix the core first then we can talk about a tear down or a hell, even wild spending spree of Free agents. The Dodgers are doing now (albeit on a larger $$$$ scale) what the Angels did in 2004 when they supplemented a great base of young talent with key free agent acquisitions (Vlad, Kelvim Escobar, Big Sexy & even Jose Guillen) because the Dodgers have created a great core development program for talent. The Padres and Braves now understand this very well. Why has our ownership forsaken this common sense plan?
What makes you think the core is being fixed? We all thought that under Eppler and that 2021 was the target year. Now everyone is saying 2024 or 2025 like they used to say 2021. It’s a pretty big leap of faith to believe Perry will be vastly different from Eppler.
Accept for the whole thing where PTP and his guys are completely different people….
Que whining about having the same owner.
And there is the leap of faith.
I don’t. It’s not even close. But its fruitless to clamor for a complete reset if we continue to ignore the systemic weaknesses with this organization
Your point about the future of the division is what gives me hope. Houston just lost Springer and could potentially lose Correa next offseason. Oakland lost Semien and will probably retool when they sell off Chapman and Olson. Texas is a ways away from being relevant again.
Funny enough, the team that scares me the most for the next half-decade is Seattle. By the end of 2021, they could be rolling out an outfield of Keleneic/Lewis/Rodriguez and a rotation filled with young, high-upside arms. Add in their ability to spend next offseason and I think they could be the best team in the division a year from now.
we need a GM like they have in Seattle. haha…ok. I’ve calmed down now.
I am 100% in line with what gitch says, both above and further down. Here’s some exciting math. When we lose Albert’s salary ($30mil) who will we sign? Not a Gerrit Cole or a Bauer. They cost more than Albert. So we might be able to get a 2nd tier pitcher and a cheap catcher. Perhaps that’ll be an improvement. I don’t know.
The problem is the call is coming from inside the house. As long as we have the bad decision makers making the new decisions we’re in trouble. Perry needs to have real authority. If he gets it then I think we’ll be ok….eventually.
It certainly wouldn’t be my favorite outcome, but I’d even be OK if Arte continues making some stupid short term signings as long as he doesn’t tie up 50M more per year in bad players. As long as he actually lets PTP build scouting and data out and fill up our farm. I don’t know for sure, but Arte has to at least have some sense of feeling trapped by all the bad money he’s passed out while ignoring the farm so hopefully he is motivated to….. do nothing. Just give PTP & Co money to pay for a larger ops department and get out of the way.
As long as Arte (and even Maddon) are making these bigger decisions and not letting the actual GM have full control, I’m not sure they’re ever going to get out of this funk.
I’d love to see them do the President of Baseball Ops/GM set-up like many other orgs do just to take the responsibilities away from the owner. Unfortunately, I don’t ever see that happening.
Different topic: inquiring minds want to know – did you work out a deal with Jessica to be paid by the word in your posts? 😂
Nope. I just have some really empty shifts at work and I type fast.
You mentioned it in the article, Brent, but one of my chief concerns is that Bundy, Heaney, Quintana, and Cobb are all free agents next winter. You’re starting, basically from scratch when the rotation, as is, needed to be beefed up. I like Rodriguez, Detmers, and Kochanowicz, but you’re putting a ton of pressure on those kids to come up and perform early on (along with significant increases in workloads given their injuries/recent drafting/lack of a minor league season last year). Hell, even an extension for Bundy would make me feel a little bit better heading into the next offseason.
I’m not as concerned about the position player side of things (I think by next year at least one of Adell/Marsh will be the everyday right fielder with the other slowly replacing Upton’s role. There’s also the possibility of Adams playing center and Trout moving to left). But I’ve got a sneaking suspicion Arte will pound the table for one of the elite shortstops in next winter’s crop (Lindor, Seager, Correa, Story, Baez). I can already tell the payroll space will be used towards a position player.
I’m in agreement with the Bundy extension. He’s the one guy who will provide a high enough floor, upside, and durability to stick around for a while. Beyond him, I’m pretty concerned about the rotation options. Sure, Canning, Detmers, Rodriguez, Sandoval, Ohtani, etc. *could* be legitimate rotation pieces but I’m not banking on it.
I think the position players are going to be great for a while. Trout/Rendon/Ohtani/Fletcher is locked down for a while. Adell/Marsh/Adams/Walsh give the club a nice future. And the aforementioned shortstop class is almost certainly going to be an area the Angels explore next offseason.
A two or three year extension – OK. Anything longer – buyer beware.
I’m still wondering who is the real Dylan Bundy: the 2017, 2018, or 2019 version – or the 2020 version. He’s had one good season since coming up to the majors. I know he was injured before, but all the reason why to proceed carefully.
Yep. It would be nice to see him have about 4 or 5 more solid outings in 2021 (similar to the first half of last season) before we commit to extending.
If he should be a little less that expected then we can simply pay him a little less…
I like that he’s still young and has been insanely durable for the last half-decade since his early injuries. I’m also very high on him and buy the changes he’s made (more breaking balls, better command, etc).
Canning is a guy I am concerned with. His frame is the size of a freshman, high-school that is. His arm has flared up in the past and he would have some trade value if dealt to a low salary capped rebuilding team, should explore moving him, quickly.
Yeah, he fell in the draft for a reason. I absolutely think he has the talent to become a strong #3/4 arm but the injury concern will be there for a while.
They can wait till mid season before considering extending Bundy. See if he has another solid 10-12 starts at least.
I do too, I sense a position player as the big acquisition. Versus shortstop, possibly 1b position If Walsh does not build upon last year. Maybe Freddie Freeman or Rizzo ( who loves Maddon). Halos are not deep in the farm system at the 1b position. But I could also see Báez, another Maddon disciple. But the Halos have a lot of up the middle depth developing down on the farm.
I wanted them to blow it up 2016… but instead they went for it and were knocked out by Jed Lowrie. As soon as they realized that this wasn’t a 90-win team they should have launched a rebuild. But they were trying to prove to Trout they were competitive. That came from a position of insecurity.
There is a 2022 glimmer. I have a good feeling about Marsh. Adell will be at least league average with another year in the minors. I think the OF comes together next year. That will add youth and rejuvenate that part of the team.
Fletcher and Rendon down their spots for another 4 years. They will need to open the Wallet for a SS or 1B. That will be a GM call.
The bench needs to be lit up with veteran guys who are reliable and durable and who can teach the young guys like Marsh/Adell.
PM seems to think catcher is important but also a conduit for the analytics. I think we’re missing that portion totally. One thing is to have spreadsheets but the other is to have a system. I don’t think Eppler did that. He was a suit. Perry grew up around the game so he knows the field a bit more.
I want throw out there that I think that’s why Suzuki, Fowler and Cobb were brought in. To teach The Way. Suzuki will handle the staff and tell them how to prepare. Cobb will be there to show Canning, Detmers and Heaney (who still needs to learn how to pitch). Fowler is for Marsh/Adell. Even Quintana can teach guys.
I think the big keys are Walsh and of course Ohtani. They both fill some kind need. I think Shohei either stays healthy to do both or he becomes a hindrance to the team trying to do it.
I was on-board with the off-season activities until the Robel signing and the Cobb and Fowler trades. My concern goes back to the reality of how Arte budgets. If the cap is $180M’ish – then every dollar of direct labor expense matters. Why not spend the dollars available on pitching that has at least a “sniff” of upside?
The house is on fire and PTP is emptying the ash trays. I don’t get it.
I’m still perplexed by the Cobb and Fowler trades. Cobb straight-up isn’t good anymore and hasn’t pitched a ton the last two years. Fowler is obviously very cheap but I’m not even sure he’ll be above-replacement level for the team.
Swap those two moves out with something like Odorizzi/Pederson and I’d be feeling much better now.
While I agree they would be an upgrade, there is the cost to consider. We don’t know that we are done (we may be, in which case you have a better case, imo).
I think they are hoping for a comeback from Cobb on the only 5M outlay – along the lines of Bundy’s improvements. Might work.
Fowler is a stop gap. Peterson would expect to be able to play all year, and won’t be easily pushed out by our crop of promising OF. I can see not wanting to spend more money on the OF (and hoping that leaves more in the bank to still sign a pitcher or two).
Maybe Suzuki can be our new pitching coach?
I’m going way back here but the team really needed a reset after 2009. That period from 2010-2013 in terms of transactions and development was disastrous for the organization. The Pujols, Wells, Hamilton, etc. acquisitions, coupled with complete neglect of the farm system, just destroyed a near-decade for this org.
We did have reset after the 2010 season .That’s when they ushered in the beginning of the “Big Splash” Era.
Logged in to REC this.
It can be also known as “The BS Era.”
6 years ago I sat in at Billy Eppler’s first meeting with the season ticket holders. It was a meet-and-greet and an opportunity to ask questions. I had no idea that the blueprint we have all become frustrated with would be revealed. I can still hear Eppler talking about how the Angels are not a tanking type club and that the plan was to ‘stay competitive’ while ‘rebuilding the farm’. At that moment I did not have the clarity that I do now. That blueprint (an Arte special) is an approach that dooms teams to the middle of the pack – a place that is exceedingly difficult from which to escape. It is a marketing blueprint not a baseball blueprint.
I believe the Angels needs to commit to an approach that is something other than ‘be competitive’. We saw under Eppler that does not work. Competitive leads to somewhere around 75-80 wins.
This offseason has been a classic Arte cost-controlled one with the goal of ‘being competitive’ as the focus. But the team is playing in a League where WS Champion teams improve by adding a pitcher like Bauer. Being competitive means only that you are better than the tankers but far worse than the best teams. It leaves the Angels stuck in the worst possible position in modern baseball- the middle – where you are unlikely to improve sufficiently via draft picks and you are not good enough to make the playoffs.
Thus, I have come to the conclusion that the team needs to commit either to (1) going ‘all in’ which includes spending well over the luxury tax or (2) burn it completely down which would include trading every player of value for young talent and be prepared to hugely suck for a few years, drafting well and rebuilding. Those are the only two choices if you don’t want to be stuck in the middle.
This offseason was another one that has followed the same blueprint of the previous 5. Do just enough to stay ‘competitive’. It’s marketing over baseball operations. I am certain that ‘competitive’ is an Arte-ism that he preaches to keep butts in the seats (when that could happen). But it does not accomplish anything except consistent meh.
I really believed this team was heading in the right direction going into 2018. After signing Ohtani and drafting Adell, in addition to bringing a guy like Upton in, it looked like things were trending positively. Since that 13-3 start in ’18, it’s been an absolute trainwreck.
It’s really REALLY hard to build a franchise core of top players drafting outside the top-5 year after year. You have to catch lightning in a bottle drafting at #10-#12. I am not convinced whatsoever on Adell or Marsh or any of the farm. I hope I am wrong but I don’t see see this farm producing any 3+ WAR players. The great majority seem more likely to be headed toward league average. That also may have something to do with our crap player development which we saw evidence of in Adell’s horrid debut.
The Angels have been notorious at tinkering swings/arsenals in MiLBers over the past half-decade. I’m curious to see if Minasian switches that up and pushes back against the “one size fits all” approach to developing talent.
That would be a great indicator, if we go a couple Springs without hearing that so & so revamped their swing.
What I worry (somewhat jokingly) is Jones becoming a monster with the bat (I’d heard that his swing got tinkered with A LOT) when he runs into a better set of coaches (probably not in Baltimore…but what do I know…)
Look at Jones regular season stars where he was constantly having his swing “fixed” and look at his AFL numbers where he just played (for other coaches).
Why change the kid’s swing a month after he tears up the AFL?
I hope Jones does well. He was blocked by Fletch, and with the SS crop next year, I don’t see Fletch going back to SS any time soon.
Still, I think Cobb might have been a small return – but I long to be wrong and hope he turns it around like Bundy (seems to have). Then it would be worth it.
In any case, the move was one I and others were advocating – trade from our 2B pile to get some pitching. We are now just quibbling over the specifics of the return.
I don’t buy the idea that it’s all that much harder to build a farm drafting outside the top 5. Last years top 10 systems included the Rays, Braves, Twins, Dbacks, Giants and Dodgers…. none of whom have been bottom feeding year after year with top 5 picks the way a team like the Tigers, Marlins or Padres have. You have to get the right people in and let them do their job though.
I assume that requires strong scouting/development capability in the organization, which I am sure we don’t have either. That’s exactly the thing those of us who are pessimistic have been worried about for a while. We have a large payroll b/c we pay a handful of stars lots of money. But everything else is cut back to less than barebone, or so it seems. Arte is being generous with big names but destructively cheap on things that make for a good healthy baseball team
We need to trade Trout, Fletcher, and anyone else of value and completely rebuild.
Those pesky no trade clauses often get in the way….
Trout would waive it to be on a contender
We will have a third of the attendance, at best, and it won’t recover until the team is in the playoffs (and then without the consistency).
Is that worth it?
Better than being on a 75 win treadmill going nowhere
An easy ‘yes’. It’s worth it for long term success. Arte’s focus is marketing not baseball ops. Running a baseball team focused on winning championships requires tough decisions. If Arte wants attendance, he’s got to be willing to go over the luxury tax. Otherwise blow it up and fully rebuild with a true 5 year plan.
And is fan attendance a legitimate trade-off for the 75-80 win ‘consistency’ you mention? I personally do not think so. But I guarantee Arte says ‘yes!’
I might rather watch Trout every day than a rebuilding team.
Yeah, I felt that way about Simba (surprise).
Also feel that way about Trout and Ohtani.
The Angels have known that they need better results from the Draft. I (individually) and we (collectively) have posted for 5 or 6 years about what we need to draft. Eddie banes name will always surface in these discussions. But if you gut the scouting and development departments have you really helped the team? I fin building an organization that is strong it takes a great foundation.
There are several tiers to scouting and we have appeared weak in results of improper or weak scouting. PTP may very well address this with Arte and we won’t know until years from now that they fixed it in 2021 because it will take 4 – 5 years to show up as positive results. Prep scouting is easy to focus one just a couple of kids while missing so many more because they develop at different speeds. College kids are a little easier to scout for they have aged by it still is difficult because of the different ways coaching is available at both their current level and what they are brought into.
Our development program, Is it getting better or still the same? Why is it taking longer to develop our kids than what appears to be shorter times for other clubs? Do the Angels teach the minor leagues the same through out the system? The minor leagues have a million things to teach and unteach if you will. Take a 21 yrs old Adell, he was taught very little, or taught a lot and chose to not listen but his basics were just awful.
If you draft great for years to come and do not address the teaching and coaching aspects of the game you are not a good organization are you? Looking at results again show we are not hiring properly and staffing properly.
Trimming the fat off a roast when fully cooked and served is appealing and then the taste buds say “This is awesome.” but being under cooked is disaster right. That means it’s not just ready yet. (think Adell). The lesson learned is that there are not enough cooks it the kitchen. The “cooks” in this case are Coaches.
The bottom line is income as the team draws 3+ million every year no matter what. The fans don’t care that Albert is 43, they pay just to see him hit. Fans could care less if Ohtani can hit they want to see him. But Trout is who they really come to see, and so 3+ million will come.
The team went 72-90 in 2019 and Arte turned a $60M profit that season.
This is my deep fear: that Arte has been soured by years of Vernon Wells and Josh Hamilton fiascos and now has given up on the proposition of winning ( I do believe he did care at one time, but his own ego and need for personal glory got in the way).
Instead, he views the Angels as purely a business venture (the signings of Trout and Rendon were designed merely to protect his investment, so guys like gitch who wield the “third in payroll” card are fools) , and he has not in recent memory had designs of actually competing for the World Series.
This explains ALOT of what has been going on that seems nonsensical (the head-scratching acquisitions like Teheran and Cobb etc).
Of course. If this is true, and I feel it unfortunately is, then we are really screwed until Arte kicks the bucket.
Hopefully Carol Moreno is an insightful woman and knows how to hire systems managers (if she decides to maintain ownership).
All things considered, Jackie Autry was not all that bad, so a female owner can sometimes work out well….
I can’t confirm the accuracy, but here’s where the data came from:
“But if you gut the scouting and development departments have you really helped the team?”
Yep. It’s like Arte has wanted to forgo the process that many other championship-caliber teams go through by building from within. As we’ve seen, it’s hard to truly build up a contender when your farm system isn’t consistently producing talent.
I think they’re just going with “raise the floor and see where we are midseason” but it’s frustrating they won’t make one more solid move to complete the strategy. No Bauer is fine, Quintana is fine, Suzuki is fine, the Iglesiases are great/fine. But dude, seriously grab Paxton, Walker, or Odorizzi if you can get that far and then I would trust the rotation to get our offense through the AL West. It’s like they duct-taped all the leaks except one of the biggest and are just like, “nah, it’s fine.”
My bet is if we’re contending in June that’s when we’ll see a trade attempt for Gray or Marquez or someone similar. This assumes our top prospects still remember how to play in the minors. I could also see a Bundy extension happening in lieu of another starter acquisition before the season, but that still doesn’t plug the big remaining leak for 2021.
Well, they are all still out there (with about 10 other guys, I think). Everyone will land somewhere by opening day (if not the opening of camp in 2 weeks) . I hope we land one. I am not even sure who I prefer at this point, or who is likely to come. I was hoping Walker would be our second SP (after Tanaka), but who is the best remaining SP ???
I’m with you on Walker. He’s the youngest of the bunch.
I don’t think anyone here really thought we’d get Bauer. What we did think is we’d get one starter to eat innings and one to bring upside.
It started off well. A stud for the bullpen (Iglesias) then Quintana who we assumed was the inning eater piece.
We were looking for the upside play and got completely butter cupped by Cobb.
The Cobb cupping happened while we saw Tanaka sign for $8 million AAV and with upside plays like Paxton and Odorizzi still available, which to me shows a lack of even wanting to play in that arena.
Hopefully something happens to prove me wrong. But I think we’re done for this year’s shopping.
I agree – I believe PTP said as much in the announcement regarding the Cobb trade
I think the problem with ppl like Odorizzi might have been that they weren’t amenable to one year deals at relatively low rates (Quintana was surprisingly affordable given how much ppl like Smyly got, for example). So Cobb kinda confirms that 2021 indeed will be a punting year for PTP, stack relatively inexpensive one year deals and see what happens (elsewhere.). So, in a sense, same as Eppler era, but, the diff hopefully will be that there will be changes elsewhere (the farm (esp depth) really languished under Eppler’s watch except a couple of bright spots, whether it’s his fault or not.). Whether this changes, we’ll need a couple of years to find out.
This is how it has unfolded. What possibly threw us off, besides the obvious needs, Perry was introduced and made a strong declaration we would be after pitching and run prevention. Pitching, pitching and more pitching. After the first two acquisitions, things went dormant and our minds imagined, Snell, Darvish, Marquez, Gray and Castillo. But we can all see now, Perry is not trading his top assets. He wants and deserves a year to figure out what he has. Playing small ball this year. With that philosophy in mind, Perry has done really well to plug holes and raise the floor while not taking on bad contracts. These moves while good do not put us into the title contender category. And I think we are bummed about that. I sure am.
Just do me a favor Perry, take the remaining $18M or do whatever to rebuild the scouting department, find talent evaluators, go into international waters to spread the staff, just get all this in place. We must turn the corner with our organization, scouts, draft philosophy and selections. Starts this year. Also Perry, please just don’t focus on Maddon cronies only. Joe is a pitch-man. Yes, obtaining Dexter and Cobb for two Disneyland Annual passes was thrifty, it’s not sustainable.
My wish for Arte, Fire Carpino/Kuhl along with Mick the Dick. Get real baseball people in here and I will live with the fact you wont tippy toe across the luxury line. I’m good with that. Just fire the fuckers.
I support this team no matter, let’s go Halos. The division title is there for the taking.
Exactly. Really, about Christmas I was stoked with the off season.
We had a genuine closer. We had shortstop covered very cost efficiently.
The trades came in waves but I understood Perry holding his chips. A after all, Tanaka and Odorizzi were out there. Not aces but sorely needed.
Quintana came in. We thought he would be the B side addition. I/we liked it.
The upside play was yet to come, right? Nah, here’s Cobb.
Swap out Cobb for Tanaka or Odorizzi and this off season is a success in my book. It just looked like we had momentum and got run into a wall.
Just hoping we aren’t done, as a number of the Oddorizzi tier are still on the board.
Yeah, I’ve had no issues with some of the additions. Even if you isolated every move, there’s a good amount to like about each one, other than the Cobb trade IMO. But cumulatively, I don’t like how little they’ve increased their upside, especially given how the rest of the division has basically stood pat.
I keep waiting for that big move for a bigger starting pitcher but that seems highly unlikely now. Hell, even a move for Odorizzi seems less and less likely now.
Bottom line : they did not address their biggest need.
Cobb and Quintana are insulting to fans and if I were a season ticket holder (which I’m not) I would not renew my package.
Quintana is a great addition if he’s the B side. We knew we needed a mid/back rotation guy.
But when he turns out to the the A side, it’s a different story.
Good piece Brent. Thanks for your honesty and sincerity.
If the blogosphere presents any advantage over the print media, television or the MSM in general it is that the team/owner friendly slants and shallow coverage can be discarded more easily. Of course the good intentions of the content creator have to be there.
I totally agree with you, and I think your phrase “fringe moves with capped upside” describes well what the Halos have been doing this off-season. As you know this has been the pattern for several years running.
The picture/cartoon is fantastic. It captures the world of the blind, optimistic fan with his head in the sand.
Thanks for the kind words, Jack. I whipped up that cartoon/meme recently and felt like it was the most applicable representation of the past half-decade of Angels baseball.
We’re really gonna see Trout on 80-82 teams forever, aren’t we.
I’m sure he’ll demand a trade at some point. So hopefully not!
Signs point to yes ( says the magic 8 ball).
I asked my Magic 8 Ball what the best email client was and it said, “Outlook not so good”
If you want to get depressed, look at the huge bump Rendon gets in salary after Pujols comes off the books.
Then realize Fletcher hits arb, Ohtani makes his second trip through, Buttrey hits arb.
There’s not as much actual payroll flexibility after this year as it appears.
And we’ll need to replace 4 pitchers and a shortstop/2nd baseman at minimum. Plus bullpen and depth pieces.
But if we just spend 240 million for a few years there we’ll be just fine.
Would be nice to have Tanaka or Odorizzi on the 3/39 MLBTR projected for them. Tanaka signed for $8 million back home.
Not that those guys are aces but they’d be our ace and eliminate a hole next year. It wouldn’t take $240 but maybe $210 to make notable improvement.
Heck yeah. There’s plenty of what could be “good money” to spend this year. Sign a guy like Oderizzi for multiple years. Extend Iglesias and Bundy. It would be good to have some pitching assets sewn up for the next three years. I’d do it.
Makes you wonder if trying to win without a full tear down is an exercise in futility.
I’ve wondered that, but I think the opportunity for a tear down was lost when we signed Pujols and “built” around him with guys like Wells, Wilson and Hambone. Then we got Trout and started to pay him. People tend to forget that his first extension wasn’t exactly cheap.
Add to that, tear downs don’t lead to sure prospects, and now days don’t even lead to sure top 5 draft position. Plus, we have the problem of a shared market. We’d lose a lot of market share to the Doyers if we just plain went full 40M a year payroll for a few years.
The biggest problems are we paid players who then sucked. If our high profile outlays worked the scrap heap guys matter a lot less. Our top pitching prospects over a five year period all exploded. Worst, instead of seeing that as a sign we need better development and scouting as so many around here said for years, they did not start drafting tons of pitching and pain stakingly nurturing it into MLB minimum quality starters.
A full tear down probably wouldn’t have worked and cost the team a lot of revenue. I know it’s supposed to be horrible that the team makes money when it doesn’t make the play offs, but I actually prefer they turn a big profit even when they suck so they can do things like NOT be the Pirates.
The thing is, I’m so easily entertained, I’d actually be fairly interested to watch the team tear it all down, see what they get, see what they can build with what I hope is a good development system, root for the top prospects, etc. At least I know we have the money to keep some of them, unlike A’s fans who better enjoy Chapman and Olson while they can.
I have no other comment for you other than I dont know what I want to happen.
Some days I think it’d be cool to sell Trout and see what a 5 year rebuild can do, and other days I only care about him retiring as an Angel.
I don’t believe that selling Trout would net us enough to allow a rebuild (no one will pay his actual value – it is too high).
Also, it would kill what little resonance there is in the Angels franchise. The trying to compete (even if that isn’t agreed on here) is the only way an Orange County based franchise competes in the LA market. You are winning or you are forgotten here. There is absolutely no appetite in LA for a Cub or Red Sox like drought. We would end up with Tampa Bay like attendance, and it wouldn’t be pretty. I remember the ghost town that LA Rams games were there at the end, before the St. Louis move, and that is what we would end up. Very tough to rebound from there. Honestly, it is the only excuse for the Arte style of ‘Big Splash’ players, and the sometimes buying of once names rather than unknown prospects with the same stats and likely outcomes, that I can understand. This is why the Fowler signing makes more sense than the Scwebler signing – despite people saying Fowler is washed up, he still warranted a headline at MLB.com.
Headlines mean zip. Just look at his stats for the last four years and the fact the Cardinals paid $13M just to have him NOT play for them in 2021.
We don’t disagree. We are ‘true’ fans, that worry about underlying stats, prospected performance, etc.
Casual fan though? ‘Oh, look, that guy I remember from that WS team is coming here. Cool.’
If that buys Arte a few more seats (or better season ticket sales) and costs the same and we get roughly the same performance – I think that is a factor and a win for Arte (and overall – the team).
I think Fowler and Goodwin might be the same player moving forward, but Fowler gets more press.
Don’t worry, Ohtani/Buttrey will be non tender candidates by then if we’re lucky.
Well, one hopes we keep some of the pitching. Also, one hopes that one of the Barria/Sandoval/Suarez/Rodgriguez/Yan … makes a leap forward and we aren’t buying an entire new rotation in the off season with Pujols paycheck.
This is similar with OF. We are hoping not to have to spend money to replace Upton the year after, because that spot will be filled. We need to know if any of our prospects will pan out and we have 1) a new GM and 2) no meaningful stats after a year of no minors and a shortened season.
Treading water (if that is what this offseason is – and I honestly think we have improved rather) is good if everyone else is sinking.
Yep. It’s going to cost a ton of build up a rotation and add an everyday shortstop. It’s not as appealing as many think, although I completely understand why fans are excited about seeing payroll flexibility for the first time in years.
Rendon and Trout are $70M alone. If Arte keeps the budget in the $180M to $190M range – PTP’s not going to have much spending money.
Shit. I missed the birth of the PTP même … Is it “Party Time Perry” or “Perry Terrible Picks” or “Perry Tries Punting?”
Perry the Platypus. Google “Phineas and Ferb” for details.