The 2023 season has wound up as just another year that Los Angeles Angels fans will watch the World Series and see a recognizable foe on their TV screens. This is another year where an AL West division rival will play for a chance to win the World Series. At least this time it's not the Houston Astros.
The Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks will meet in one of the more unlikely World Series matchups in recent memory. The Rangers and Diamondbacks both finished fourth in their respective divisions last season and failed to reach the 75-win mark. This season they completely flipped the script by making the postseason to begin with, let alone win the entire thing.
These two teams are in the World Series mainly because of the star power that was already in their organization, but players they signed in free agency that the Angels passed on helped them get there as well.
1) Nathan Eovaldi
The most obvious player the Angels passed up on is Nathan Eovaldi, a player they showed interest in but couldn't quite close the door for. Eovaldi wound up signing a deal with the Texas Rangers in large part because Texas is where he's from and still resided.
I personally had little issue with the Angels passing on Eovaldi. Yes, the team did need to add another starter, but Eovaldi signed a deal that was going to pay him $17 million annually for two years and had all kinds of trouble simply staying on the field. Considering the fact that he did miss almost two months due to injury I wasn't way off, but with how good he's been all year for Texas it's abundantly clear the Angels made a mistake watching him walk to their division rivals.
Eovaldi made 25 starts for the Rangers this season and posted a 3.63 ERA in 144 innings pitched. He was among the league leaders in ERA in the first half which helped him make the All-Star team, but he did struggle in September after returning from injury. Regardless, Texas probably doesn't make the playoffs without him and he's been worth every penny and then some in the postseason.
Eovaldi has made four starts this postseason, going at least six innings in all four. He has a 2.42 ERA in 26 innings pitched in those starts and has more importantly led Texas to wins in all four games. Eovaldi has a history of being absolute money in the postseason, and this season has been no different. The Angels saw major regression from their rotation this season. Signing Eovaldi would've helped with that at least a little bit.