Let me preface by saying that there are instances in the past where I may have, internally or publicly, rooted for the Angels to lose. It’s only natural. The team is out of playoff contention, and the system incentivizes losses for better draft position. Although in baseball, teams won’t see those players for a while, it’s not only about selecting better prospects higher up in the order but also accumulating more slot money to be able to sign players down-draft as well. Tanking is “good.”
This weekend, the Angels travel up north where the sun doesn’t set to take on the Seattle Mariners. The same Mariners who have made the playoffs zero times since 2001. And as the excitement of the weekend boils down to the AL Wild Card race, the Mariners are tied for the second spot with the Boston Red Sox, who travel to face the lowly Washington Nationals. Fangraphs gives the Mariners a 30.0% chance of making the playoffs.
But this series is not only about who makes the playoffs this season or who gets a better draft position for the 2022 MLB Draft. It symbolizes so much more.
As we all know, Mariners President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto used to be the GM for the Angels. After he joined Seattle, he started a teardown of the team, becoming known as “Trader Jerry.” Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano were shipped off to New York in his most high-profile move. He was executing a rebuild.
In hindsight, the Angels probably should have rebuilt over that time as well. But in each individual season, it’s hard not to feel like you have a shot at the postseason if you possess the greatest baseball player of the past decade, Mike Trout. It would have been unpopular to tear it down, and so the Angels retooled each season, bringing in a new crop of pitchers that never seemed to work. There may have been more optimism than in Seattle, but the results never materialized.
Now, in the division, the Houston Astros remain as strong as ever, even as they may lose Carlos Correa in the offseason. The Texas Rangers have exciting prospects who may be making their way to the Majors over the next few seasons. Oakland will potentially be executing a rebuild, but they always pull something out of their sleeve anyway. And there’s Seattle.
For the past half-decade, whenever the Angels looked at the state of the division, there may not have been playoff berths, but fans could be confident that they were in better shape than Seattle. “Dipoto doesn’t know what he’s doing!” we all cried. There didn’t seem to be a direction up there. But slowly, surely, the Mariners farm system has emerged. Jarred Kelenic has bounced back after a slow start to his career. Julio Rodriguez is a top prospect. Pitchers like Logan Gilbert and Emerson Hancock are arriving soon. This farm system is ranked #2 by MLB dot com.
It’s true that very soon, the Mariners may be the class of the division. Ahead of the Angels, ahead of everyone, Dipoto got the opportunity to execute the rebuild that he couldn’t in Anaheim. I just hope that, for one weekend, we can still believe, mirage as it might be, that we are still ahead of at least one team in the division, that the Mariners postseason streak stretches a futile twenty years, that the Angels were responsible.
Because sometimes it’s easier to cling onto false belief than look in the mirror.
Title Image from Mariners Twitter
Lose one for the Gipper
Playing spoiler to the Mariners may give me short term reward, but when you are out of it with nothing to play for besides individual players stats, I would rather have long term rewards with a better pick and bonus money.
Yeah I would love to stick it to the Ms, but I would rather improve the team with picks and more money for guys that wouldn’t normally sign.
Help Boston or Seattle?
I want to help the Angels.
Agreed. I am more concerned what happens after Sunday. Time for Moreno to get off his a** and get the pitching this team has needed for over 6 years.
I love that last sentence. Well written piece.
Absolutely, perfect statements. Need to lose, use our bullpen a a lot, that should cinch it. Losing 2 out of 3 would be nice/
I’m so over this year and the lousy job the GM and Coach have done. Now Joe, is making statements ahead of the GM and putting him into a corner. Where was this critique back in May?
Time for next season or 2023 depending on the labor situation. Tell Moreno to get the F off of our team if he can’t field a winner.
I’m still waiting for the 2014 Rangers and Mariners pile of awesome prospects to dominate for years. Profar forever baby!
This weekend we are playing the Mariners, one of our chief rivals in the division.
Not only have they beat us fairly consistently this season, but they are perhaps on the threshold of snatching a Wild Card spot in the AL.
I sure hope that none of you are rooting for anything this series other than for us to spank them good and keep them out of the playoffs.
This is a matter of pride.
A couple of spots in the draft next year or 475k in bonus pool money should not in any way reduce your competitive fire to beat these guys. Since we will have to start beating the teams in our division in 2022 to have any chance we might as well start now.
Let’s hear it for the “No Tank Team.”
My pride isn’t the least bit rooted in how the Angels do. Jeeez…. is this why some of you guys whine like a child on fire all the time? It’s just asking for misery. Go hike up a mountain or bench press your body weight or something. Build a bird house.
I think you misunderstood my comment.
“A matter of pride” is a form of sports speak. It is a sports thing. Get it?
If the Angels lose this series (and I suspect they will) I am not going to feel like a less valuable human being. My self-confidence and sense of personal dignity will not be shattered.
However, that is not to say that I would not really enjoy seeing the Angels keep the Mariners out of the playoffs by beating them.
I’m sorry. I should have made it more obvious I was kidding. If your actual sense of self worth was based on the Angels I doubt you’d be with us today.
I need to use more emojis.
Yes, because the Mariners have been such a rich championship filled organization. See my post below
Agree that they suck. I just want it to stay that way.
A playoff appearance would give them a sense of accomplishment and something to build on for next year. Just say “no.”
I don’t think that is the case. The Mariners had a fluke season. Look at their run differential. I see some regression in their players next season.
Look, you don’t have to convince me that they are a “fluke.”
I was saying that a while back. Still, I don’t want to see them make the playoffs. As much as I hate Boston I would rather see them in just because it would not mean as much to the Red Sox as it would to the M’s.
If you haven’t done anything for 20 seasons of course it would mean something. I think we just all need to be more concerned about what happens in the off season at this point. Let’s fix the Angels. Ohtani and Trout deserve to be in the postseason.
Nobody disagrees with that dude.
It is just that an extra 475k signing money is not automatically putting Trout and Ohtani in the playoffs, lol.
I’d prefer them getting in over Boston.
I don’t like either team because they both were responsible for our total collapse. First in the 86 playoffs and then the 95 season. Damn Dave Henderson.
I’m hoping “Angels’ kids”, the Blue Jays, sneak in instead of either.
I understand people’s hesitancy to support the team tanking, but getting a higher pick in the draft means not only a chance at a better player when there is a drop-off in talent outside the top 10, but also allows the team to spread out the bonus pool money and talk a guy out of a college commitment.
This team needs all the help it can get. We’re a glorified AAA team that should’ve rebuilt many years ago. Late season W’s mean nothing during another lost season.
I have supported #TeamTank before. This is not about the principles of tanking.
I just don’t think they are tanking to get better draft options. They are tanking because they have no players, no shot at winning, and might as well take a look at some of their MiLB depth while they have meaningless innings to play.
It is kind of stupid for people to think that the Mariners have been a better team than the Angels. Look at what the Angels have done since 2001 compared to the Mariners. It isn’t even close. If they win the 2nd wild card this weekend who gives a shit. They will still not be anywhere close to what the Angels have done since 2001.
but why 2001? Why not 2015?
Why 2015? All I am showing is that the Angels are a much better franchise overall the last 20 seasons. If you want to talk 2015 then yes we suck but the Mariners have basically sucked since then as well except this fluke season they are having. If the Mariners do make it to the postseason it will last all of one game.
If you want to compare both franchises here you go:
1979-2001 Angels-3 division titles Mariners-3 division titles
2002-2020 Angels 1 W.S. Champioinship, 6 division titles. Mariners – 0
2021- Mariners may get the 2nd W.C. and get to play 1 playoff game in 20 years.
I will take the 2002 WS championship over anything Seattle has done since then.
11-13 picks don’t make much difference, a top 10 pick might be worth it, but honestly Bachman was drafted 9 and he was expected at 15, its all going to be pitchers again anyways so who cares lol
I am with you on this, my friend.
I’m always in favor of winning, every single game. As for draft position, once we get past the top 15-20 picks every organization has a different list. I honestly don’t think it matters if we’re 9th, 12th, 30th, if Perry and his team do their homework.
Hell yes! You have my Vote!