LA Angels: How The Yankees’ Early Playoff Exit Affects Halos’ Free Agency Plans
The LA Angels saw their division rival Houston Astros make it to the World Series for the second time in three years.
While this does sting for LA Angels fans, perhaps the New York Yankees losing is more significant to the Halos than their divisional foe’s success.
The New York Yankees and Houston Astros were two extremely different powerhouses. The Astros had elite starting pitching and an offense built around a mix of contact, power, and not striking out. The Yankees on the other hand, were built to hit home runs and sacrifice their strikeout rates at the expense, while also having a legitimately historic bullpen.
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In the end, the Astros’ model won out.
And that is bad news for the Angels and their fans as they go into the offseason with their sights on one name more than anyone: Gerrit Cole.
At this point, everybody knows the relationship between the Angels and Cole. He’s from Southern California, has openly admired Shohei Ohtani and repeatedly dubbed Mike Trout as the best in the game, and the Angels are considered the favorite by many to sign him.
However, what isn’t quite as well know on the West Coast is the fit between Cole and the Yankees as well.
Cole, despite growing up less than an hour from Angels Stadium, was a Yankees fan growing up. An image surfaced of him supporting the Yankees as a kid shortly before his ALCS Game 3 start against his childhood team.
So while the Angels have the hometown advantage (if that’s the a real thing), the Yankees have a special place in Cole’s heart as well (again this might not matter but is worth noting).
What’s really important, however, is how the Yankees exited the playoffs.
The Yankees had World Series aspirations this season. Losing in the ALCS is going to motivate this team even more next season. And it won’t just motivate the players, but the front office and ownership as well. It will only make them more motivated that their starting pitching was a weakness throughout the season.
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If you think the Angels feel pressure, imagine how the 27 time World Series Champion Yankees are feeling. They haven’t won a World Series in a decade, and pressure is starting to mount for this core to put a winner on the field.
And that pressure might just make them offer Gerrit Cole more than originally planned.
Let’s get this straight: the Yankees can outbid the Angels for Cole if they want. While Arte Moreno could spend big this winter, the Yankees have always had the upper hand when offering big money contracts. And if this early playoff exit motivates ownership to spend big, the Angels could wind up missing out on their top target.
While the Angels do still have some advantages over the Yankees, if this motivates Brian Cashman and Co. to outbid Billy Eppler by a significant margin, it’ll be Cole under the bright lights of the Bronx next season rather than on the mound at The Big A.