The LA Angels season from Hell is almost over, but until then, here’s three reasons for Halo Nation to smile.
1.) The LA Angels Have Money to Spend
Yes, quite the opposite of what you’d expect from a team anchored by huge contracts to Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Justin Upton. However, the Angels very wisely only utilized one-year deals last offseason, leaving them with more than enough money to make a major impact this offseason.
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Every Angels fans and their mother knows Gerrit Cole is the Halos’ top target this winter. The SoCal native is set to be a free agent for the first time in his career, and is finishing up a Cy Young caliber season. He’ll force the Angels to do something they’ve never done before: hand out a six-digit contract to a pitcher.
They have the money to be the top bidder for Cole’s services, and maybe (maybe?) a homecoming is enticing enough for Cole to give the Angels an advantage. Pitching is the biggest need for the Angels (duh) and Cole is the frontline starter the team has desperately needed since…well…forever?
2.) Jo Adell Is Almost Here
The next time the Angels play meaningful games, top prospect Jo Adell could very well be the starting right fielder. Obviously there are a few factors that go into this, but it’s within the realm of possibility.
First, Adell has to show he’s ready for the MLB in Spring Training next year. If he looks like a mess, he’ll surely start the season in Salt Lake. However, even if Adell blows up in Tempe next year, there’s still a chance he isn’t on the Opening Day roster. As it is with most top prospects, service time manipulation could come into effect with Adell.
Like the Cubs did with Kris Bryant, the Blue Jays with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and dozens of other teams did to dozens of other prospects, waiting to call up a prospect to acquire an extra year of service is a useful strategy.
However, teams seem to be moving away from that. Last season, top prospects Fernando Atari’s Jr. and Eloy Jimenez were on the Padres and White Sox Opening Day roster’s, respectively. So while service time manipulation has long been the norm, teams may be learning it creates a healthier relationship to have the prospect in the MLB as soon as their ready.
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But, either way, Adell is coming to The Big A. And he’s arriving sooner rather than later.
3.) This Team Is Really Good (When Healthy)!!!
Guys!! We’re all forgetting a critical piece of information about the Angels. Before this season went to shambles, the team was right in the thick of the playoff race.
The offense was performing as a top three unit in the American League at points in the season. That was without a healthy Justin Upton and Andrelton Simmons for the majority of it, as well. The group of position players is above-average, and is exceptional both at the plate and in the field. Rounding out this crew with solid depth and better offensive catchers will take this team to entirely new levels next year. The return of a healthy Upton and bounce back season from Simmons could make this Angels team truly dangerous on offense next season.
And I know they’re never healthy, but the Angels actually have good pitching talent on their team. Andrew Heaney is a true frontline starter, while Griffin Canning, Felix Peña, Patrick Sandoval, and Dillon Peters form a solid rotation. If they can stay healthy next season, along with some free agent additions and Ohtani’s return to the mound, the Angels could actually prove to be a contender.
Also, I realize these opinions aren’t shared by anyone, but I have trust in Brad Ausmus and Billy Eppler. Ausmus has had as hard of a first year as any manager in the history of the MLB, but he’s proven to be a leader. With Eppler’s contract expiring after 2020, it’s time for him to have the stellar offseason and free agency period he’s been chasing.
So, Angels fans, as the team continues to be dismantled by the Yankees, Astros, and A’s this week, just keep looking back at this list, rejoice in (maybe false) hope, and smile