• Brian Cooney

What is Wrong with the Los Angeles Angels?

The Los Angeles Angels continue to have the best player our generation has ever seen: Mike Trout. For the past ten seasons, Trout has dominated Major League Baseball, finishing in the top 5 for AL MVP every year since 2012. Today, some people consider him the best baseball player ever to walk this planet. With everything Trout has accomplished, there is one feat he has never had the opportunity to compete for: A World Series championship.

Baseball is a team sport over anything else. No one denies that. However, it is hard to believe the Angels have had the best player in baseball for over a decade on their team, and they have gone to the playoffs one time in that stretch. Over the past decade, they have struggled with horrendous contracts and bad trades. The only thing they've done right is resigned Trout to a 10-year deal in 2019. If Mike Trout was not getting the largest contract in MLB history at the time, I bet he would've left to compete.

Now, the Angels have found themselves another, a once-in-a-lifetime player in Shohei Ohtani, the dual-threat pitcher, and hitter. Major League Baseball has not seen someone who can both pitch and hit at an elite level since the legend of Babe Ruth. At the end of May 2021, Ohtani leads the league in home runs while posting a 2.37 ERA. Sports Media everywhere is boasting about what Ohtani has accomplished this season. I bet you can see where this is going.

The Los Angeles Angels have two of the most valuable players the league has ever seen at their disposal. However, they continue to be the most mediocre team in the league. How can that be? Well, having one of the worst pitching staff in baseball for years hasn't helped and not being able to support either of them in the lineup with other competent players. Currently, the Angels sit in last in the AL West. Trout has dealt with injury this season and could be out until after the All-star break, however.

This season should be a severe wake-up call for the Angel's Front Office. If the past ten seasons weren't, maybe this one will be. Pitching is the main issue for this organization. They haven't had a dominant pitcher since Jered Weaver was a Cy Young Candidate in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Other than that, the Angels have had worn-out veterans and prospects that have never come to fruition. This team has failed to sign a big-name pitcher since they've had Mike Trout. It isn't like they don't have any money! They just signed Anthony Rendon to a seven-year/ $245 million deal last season. Granted, he has played up to his contract thus far, but hitting hasn't been the issue as of late.

Ohtani has pitched phenomenally to begin this season, which could say even more about the rest of the pitching staff. Even though he has one of the lowest ERAs in baseball, the team still finds themselves in the bottom three ERAs in baseball, with a 5.20. Even with one of the league's best starting pitchers, they fall to the bottom of the list. It truly is remarkable how terrible they have been with this elite offense they've put together, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Their bad investments over the years have prevented them from adding to their pitching staff. Signings such as Justin Upton, Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton have drained their bank accounts for years. Yes, they did look like good free agent signings at the time, but man, have they dug the Angels in quite the hole.

It is a disservice to all baseball fans that we don't get to watch the best player from our generation compete for a title and see him on the biggest stage. Playoff Mike Trout may be a different beast that we may never get to experience. Now, Ohtani is risking being the next career they ruin. Perry Minasian, the new General Manager of the Angels, vows to add pitching during his tenure with the team. He was hired in November 2020, after the Angels fired their five-year GM Billy Eppler. Hopefully, he can turn this franchise around with the offensive talent they have.

Suppose they don't get it done soon. In that case, the Angels might be at risk of losing Shohei Ohtani, who is quickly becoming the most popular player in all of baseball. Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton are finally off the books, so maybe this is the time for them to improve. However, I wouldn't be surprised if they made another dumb, long-term decision that doesn't work out for them. That's how things usually work for them anyways. I apologize to Angels fans for the agonizing years it's been. Stay strong; help is on the way.