The Los Angeles Angels have been pushing for postseason contention every season since Mike Trout launched onto the scene. They put together an extremely strong season in 2012 before falling to the World Series Champion, Kansas City Royals in the divisional round, but haven't returned back to post-season baseball since. Every season the Angels have shelled out large amounts of money to help construct a roster that could reach that milestone, but every season seems to find a way to be thrown away.
Poor pitching, inconsistent hitting, bad contracts, injuries, and the inability to bounce back from poor stretches of baseball have haunted the Los Angeles Angels for various stretches throughout the last decade. Doling out huge contracts to players out of their prime has seemed to dent the Angels payroll in almost every one of the seasons. From Josh Hamilton to Albert Pujols, and now Anthony Rendon, the Angels have all too often reached to make huge splashes in free agency with no avail.
The end of this season seems to put the organization at a bit of a crossroads, and it seems like the question of the Angels spending and contender longevity has been put more in question with the looming threat of Shohei leaving the Angels. The Angels are wanting to keep Shohei after this season, but overall it is another huge decision for the future of this franchise.
Knowing that Shohei's talents will more than likely be the largest valued in major league history, the Angels will have to look at financing him for the better part of the next 10 years for a contract larger than Mike Trout's. It is hard not to acknowledge the prior and current contracts the Angels have signed that have inhibited them to getting the additions they would need.
What is at stake this offseason for the LA Angels?
If the Angels want the best way to secure Shohei after this season, they're going to have to find ways to cut payroll on their team. Obviously, getting rid of Anthony Rendon comes to mind first when thinking about ways to open up payroll for Ohtani to return, but it would be very difficult to get another team to want to take on a player with a huge contract that is on the back end of his career. The best the Angels could hope for would be for him to retire early which he had hinted at before leaving Washington years ago.
In addition to cutting payroll, the Angels will need to find ways to add to their roster again and round it out for another season. A lot of the moves the Angels have made that have hurt them over the years have been impulsive moves that were intended to push them over the hump that season and never seem to go in their favor. This season's trade deadline moves were another example of that.
Overall, the Angels front office is going to have some serious future considerations to make this offseason. Every one of these major decisions they've made over the years has led to quick fixes that end up hurting their long-term organizational goals. It really makes baseball fans wonder how long the Angels can keep making desperate moves to get Mike Trout playing after the regular season ends. Those moves have led to the Angels' minor league system being one of the worst-ranked systems in all of baseball. The continued failures of this franchise have seemed to have serious morale effects on each year's team, knowing that they are being pressured to perform from Opening day, which have resulted in season-ending meltdowns during the season.
Yes, the outcome of this season seems very much the same as any other season with the Angels flopping near the end of the season, but the chances to continue pushing for the postseason are starting to dwindle.