The LA Angels have played better in the last month, but will it be enough to reach the playoffs

Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

The LA Angels have held their own this month and then some, but with a couple of disappointing losses to the Baltimore Orioles has shown, they are not a true playoff contender. Could the addition of a player or two change things.

The LA Angels have been on such a roller coaster ride both on and off the field this season, it’s hard to know what is the real Angel team.  The Angels had a stretch early in the season where they lost 10 of 12 games and another one where they lost 8 of 11 contests which put them as much as seven games under .500.

However, every time it seemed like you could write off the Angels for the season, they would make a monster comeback.  They put together two separate stretches where they won 8 of 10 and later 9 of 12 games going as much as five games over .500 and they were able to pull within four games of the wild-card lead.

This has even started talk that the Angels should be aggressive at the trade deadline and cash in some of their prospects they have been cultivating over the past fur to five years to get a couple of big-time players to help push the Angels to the wild-card playoff spot.  As much as I would love to see Noah Syndergaard or Marcus Stroman, or even Zack Greinke wearing Angel Red I believe the cost will probably be too high for the return you may or any not get on your investment.

This year’s Angel team is a special one and they have fought harder and played together more than any Angel team since 2015.  Some players have stepped and had strong years thus far.  Unfortunately injuries have taken their toll on the team in addition to losing one of their top pitchers in Tyler Skaggs, who died at the beginning of July.

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The team has used some tough moments like the Skaggs death, and Jonathan Lucroy‘s getting trucked by the Astros’ Jake Marisnick causing him to miss close to a month of the season as rallying points.  The issue though is what you have seen in the past couple of days against Baltimore is that the pitching depth we thought the Angels would have more of this season was just an illusion.  Especially when guys like Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahill, and Cody Allen have turned out to be major disappointments.

The Angels could go out and get a couple of arms to help patch the rotation together and maybe it could be enough to get them a wild-card berth which would be exciting for sure, but would it be worth what they would give up.

The Angels have the makings  of a very special team with some of the prospects starting to ripen enough to be serviceable major league players with an upside that could make them into All-Stars in the next couple of years.

Names like Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, Griffin Canning, Jose Suarez, David Fletcher, Luis Rengifo, Matt Thaiss, Jordyn Adams, and Patrick Sandoval could all be in the majors next year for the Angels with probably the exception of Adams.  Some of those on that list are already there contributing this season, but with the exception of David Fletcher have come up before they were truly ready.

This however can only help guys like Canning, Suarez, Rengifo, and Thaiss in the future.  When guys like Mike Trout, and Kole Calhoun first came up they struggles as well in the final months of the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Even Fletcher struggled at times last season, but has seemed much more comfortable in his first full season.

I think the Angels should stay clear of the big market tickets in the trade deadline frenzy unless the deal is too good to pass up and they are not mortaging key parts of their future.  If the Angels can stay the course this season 2020 could be the year that most Angel fans have been waiting for, a year when they can finally be a true playoff contender that could be even be a World Series contender if Shohei Ohtani comes back at full-strength on the mound as well as continuing to hit like he is doing this season.

Imagine a line-up with David Fletcher, Andrelton Simmons, Justin Upton, Jo Adell, Mike Trout, Luis Rengifo, Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton, and a platoon of Matt Thaiss and Albert Pujols.  There would not be a major weakness.  As for the pitching staff you could have Jose Suarez, Griffin Canning, Shohei Ohtani, Andrew Heaney, and possibly a dependable #1-#3 starter that could be had in free agency without losing any top prospects.

The whole bullpen will pretty much be returning as well. Guys like Keynan Middleton, Justin Anderson, Ty Buttrey, Hansel Robles, and Noe Ramirez are all under club control for two more seasons. You could also bring back a veteran or two like Tommy La Stella, Kole Calhoun, or Brian Goodwin to mix in off the bench and also provide depth.

I know it seems like a broken record that we have heard for the last few years now, but look at the Kansas City Royals organization going almost 30 years without a single playoff appearance making back-to-back World Series and winning one. If they had more money they could have kept together a really special team.  The Houston Astros went on a 10-year hiatus from the playoffs while building a team that finally brought a championship to Houston.

Then their was the kings of Wait til Next Year in the Chicago Cubs and LA Dodgers. The Cubs seemed broken after the Bartman failure of 2003, but built a solid team through their farm system that finally broke the curse of the Billy Goat in 2016.  The Dodgers while they have not won the World Series yet have become an elite NL team and look to be headed to possibly a third World Series this season and they may finally break a 31-year curse (As much as I would hate to have to hear some Dodger fans talking).

What do all these teams have in common: an elite farm system that they built up over time and with the exception of the aforementioned Royals these teams have been able to sustain it for the past four to five seasons where they have been in the World Series mix every year.  Wouldn’t that be nice Angel fans?  It can happen if you are a patient with Billy Eppler and his staff.  He has done many great things with the extension of Mike Trout, the signing of Shohei Ohtani, and the trades for Justin Upton and Andrelton Simmons for virtually nothing of consequence.

The Angels 2019 season could be in the balance in the next week. Next

Have faith and don’t give up on this team just yet.