What Can The Los Angeles Angels Learn From Cubs, Indians.

July 22, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; General view as Los Angeles Angels take batting practice before playing against the Minnesota Twins at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
July 22, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; General view as Los Angeles Angels take batting practice before playing against the Minnesota Twins at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

After another disappointing season for the Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler is looking for answers.  They should look no further than the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians who will start the World Series Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Angels is a mixture of youth and veterans.  Many of the veterans they had in 2016 had overpriced contracts which made it tough for Eppler to make any kind of moves to vastly improve the team without giving up some of their young talent.

The Angels have a few players from their farm system who have worked out nicely C.J. Cron, Kole Calhoun, Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, and Tyler Skaggs (he came up with the Angels, was traded and now is back) and of course Mike Trout. As for the high priced veterans have Albert Pujols making 25 million plus a season, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson each made 20 million this year as well. Not to mention still paying Josh Hamilton 25 dollars to play or sit for the Texas Rangers through next season, Andrelton Simmons and Yunel Escobar both acquired in trades were actually reasonable at six million and seven million dollars this season respectively.

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The Cubs on the other hand had a plethora of home-grown talent.  So much so that they could field pretty much a who starting nine with All-Stars and potential All-Star players.  Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Addison Russell, Kris Bryant, and Wilson Contreras would compose the infield with the starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks.  In the outfield they have Kyle Schwarber in left (been injured all season, but is solid when healthy), Jorge Soler will be the right fielder soon enough.  So the only spot they don’t have someone homegrown is in center where Dexter Fowler roams.  Pretty impressive if you ask me.

Where the Cubs felt a need they did make a few free-agent signings over the past couple of years. They signed John Lackey and Jon Lester to free-agent deals that were pricey, but have been worth it. They also made a shrewd move that has paid dividends the past two seasons.  The Cubs got 2015 Cy Young Award Winner Jake Arrieta along with set-up man Pedro Strop from the Baltimore Orioles for Scott Feldman and a minor leaguer.  The biggest move was filling their greatest need by acquiring closer Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees for a number of minor leaguers.  If the Cubs win the World Series the move was worth it.

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So what about the Indians.  You see a very similar formula like the Cubs as the Tribe has a number of home-grown players who are starring now. Their whole starting line-up is all home grown player except Mike Napoli and Coco Crisp. Both of these guys were low-cost veterans they didn’t break Cleveland’s tight bank account.

Pitching was the same as the Indians starting rotation is pretty much all home grown Danny Salazar, Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin, and Ryan Merritt all came up with the Indians as did relievers Brian Shaw and Cody Allen.  Only reliever Andrew Miller and Trevor Bauer were acquired in trades or free agency.

The Angels are slowing trying to rebuild their farm system that has produced a few gems in the past five years that we already mentioned, but it will take some time.  When the Angels built their 2002 World Championship team it took a period of about seven years for the group to gel.  Troy Glaus, Tim Salmon, Darin Erstad, Bengie Molina, Garret Anderson, Jarrod Washburn, Ramon Ortiz, John Lackey, Troy Percival, and of course Francisco Rodriguez were all home-grown talent.

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The Angels filled in the other spots with cost-effective veterans David Eckstein, Scott Spiezio, Brad Fullmer, and Kevin Appier.  Appier being the most expensive at around 10 million dollars. I think the Angels are sort of trying to use a cross between the Cubs and Indians methods, but it takes some time to let younger guys develop, and money to acquire free agents where they need someone to fill a spot that there is not anyone ready to fill effectively from the Angels farm system.

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So as Kevin Costner said in the movie Draft Day, “Be Quiet, I’m working here”.  Hopefully Eppler knows what he is doing for the Angels sake.  We will will have to wait and hope.  Remember “Patience is a virtue”, but it’s hard when you have been waiting though eight years without a playoff win and only one playoff appearance (2014).  Let’s hope it is sooner rather than later, but don’t get your hopes up.