Angels are at a crossroads as an organization
By Joshua Lea
The Aftermath of the Hector Santiago trade is looming behind the Angels as they march forward in a season that is likely at it’s end. The organization is at a crossroads going into the future, the off-season moves will be vital for the Angels.
Currently, the Angels are in an interesting position. It’s a position of the unknown, flirting with the idea of a complete rebuild (aside from Mike Trout). With the 2016 season all but officially over, the Angels should already be in rebuilding mode. The march from last place to contender will be a long and treacherous one over the next year. However, if any team is capable of a 180 degree turnaround it is the Angels.
In case you missed the Angels have already made a significant step forward in improving their farm system. On August 4th, the Angels relieved Ric Wilson from his position as the scouting director. In his removal, they’ve given him a chance to remain in scouting, on the amateur level.
Wilson took over for Eddie Bane in 2011, he instantly had his work cut out for him trying to continue the Angels decent farm system along with the contracts of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. However, since 2011, Wilson only two players have positive WAP’s (Wins Above Replacement) in C.J. Cron and Jett Bandy.
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Eppler intends to begin the interviewing process for Wilson’s replacement in the near future. One has to question if this is the only position with the office that will be under evaluation. Eppler has maintained that clubhouse manager Mike Scioscia is safe from the hot seat. Sciosica is under contract with the Angels until 2018.
As far as the players go, the Angels are going to have their collective work cut out for them in re-tooling the pitching staff. While the pitching staff wasn’t overly impressive to begin with, it’s become riddled with injuries, confidence issues, and the inability to preform when the number is called.
The Angels have had two major opposites in terms of acquiring players over the last five years, the first is giving out massive contracts to proven players who are closer to the twilight of their careers. The second is paying minimal money to savvy veterans hoping they still have some juice left in them.
Either way the tactics used on the pitching staff have yet to take effect. Injuries and poor performance have taken their toll on the Angels roster. The Angels only option is focus all efforts on the pitching staff during the off-season. The Angels will have extra money to spend with Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson becoming unrestricted free agents.
I for one would like to see Angels GM Billy Eppler get his 2008 Mitch Kupchak (Los Angeles Lakers GM) on. If you recall, it was 2008 when the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies. A blockbuster signing or trade during the off-season would give the fans some comfort. Eppler must make a deal or a signing that makes a splash with the media, fans, and players.
Even though you’ll never hear this publicly, Mike Trout has to be frustrated with being on a last place team. Any guy who competes at that high of a level and is as dominant as he is would have to hate losing the way the team has this season. Trout is just too good of a guy to go off on the team like any other player would.
Next: The hit and miss of the bullpen
One thing is clear, the Angels trading away Santiago and Joe Smith show’s they are looking ahead to next season. Whether or not Bill Eppler has a reformative plan to adjust, tweak, and fix the broken pitching staff remains to be seen.