Poor Decisions Lead To Angels’ Collapse
Today’s lesson in economics: It’s not how much you spend on players, it’s how wise you are in choosing the players.
The Dodgers went on a spending spree this season. They got off to a terrible start, partially due to injuries, but have made a spectacular recovery.
The Angels, by contrast, went on a spending spree, made some poor decisions, and are now buried so deep in the standings they’re unlikely to recover this season.
Albert Pujols, the Angels’ highest paid player, went on the disabled list Sunday after struggling with a foot injury all season. Pujols was the best hitter in baseball when the Angels signed him to a 10-year contract, a questionable decision because of his age.
The hope is he’ll rest this season and come all the way back next season. But that may be wishful thinking.
Next, owner Arte Moreno went for another superstar, Josh Hamilton, who can be great but batted only .235 in the second half of last season with the Texas Rangers. Hamilton’s sub-par play has added to the Angels’ problems this season.
The Angels made a splash in the headlines and doubtlessly sold a lot of season tickets when they signed Hamilton. But the signing left no room in their budget for Torri Hunter, a solid and dependable pro who was forced to move on.
Hamilton may be an upgrade on Hunter for the right field position but not by a great deal. Hunter now plays for the Detroit Tigers and is doing well.
The Angels added two starting pitchers this season who have not been much of a help. They traded reliever Jordan Walden to Atlanta, where he’s having a productive season, for Tommy Hanson. They also brought in Joe Blanton, who has a 1-10 record.
Another new starting pitcher, Jason Vargas, has been more productive but is currently injured. Veteran Jermon Williams is only so-so, leaving Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson as the team’s only reliable starters.
The Angels were 11 games out of first place at the all-star break. The first two nights after the break the Angels won and the divison’s first and second place teams, Oakland and Teas, both lost. Were the Angels mounting an inspiring comeback?
No, their pitching didn’t allow that. And last weekend when they were swept in Oakland by the A’s, their deficit reached 13 games.
Moreno appears to be spending on big names to counter the Dodgers’ moves to dominate the Southern California market, but he denies this.
The fact is he’s willing to spend but the Angels’ decisions have left a lot to be desired.
“We’re not going to wake up one day and play to our potential, but we have to move toward that,” said Manager Mike Scioscia. ‘We have to pick up our game.’
Is it too late to save this season? It looks that way.