The Angels are not tanking because they are not built to tank
Imagine if you will, going into the offseason with plans to sign one of the top pitching talents on the free-agent market. When you fail to do so, you pivot to the next one in line. And when that fails, you move on to and sign the top hitter available to the sixth-highest free-agent contract in the history of the game.
Once you’ve hatched that part of the plan, you put him in the lineup, directly behind the best (and highest paid) player in the game. And to sprinkle a little more sugar on it by calling up one of the top prospects in baseball in what is essentially a lost season.
And you do all of this just to mask your hidden agenda of tanking for the top pick in the draft.
Sound a little far-fetched? It should.
Without considering any proration for the shortened season, the Angels have the fifth-highest payroll in the game. They have the best player in the game on their roster and with Anthony Rendon now in the mix, the Halos have a 7-year window of contention with both he and Trout in the fold.
The typical tanking we’ve seen in MLB, thanks to examples from the Astros and Nationals, have taken a multitude of seasons. It takes time to not only stockpile talent, but to also develop it accordingly. Major League Baseball lacks the instant gratification that the draft gives other sports. It’s not as simple as identifying a prospect and plugging them right into the current mix.
The Angels as they are built today are a foundation. They’ll head into the 2021 offseason with the same goals of adding pitching that they went into 2020 with. As such, they won’t lure a top arm to the team if they give off the impression of a rebuild.