FanPost

Are We Going Down Like The Titanic or Soaring Like the Shuttle?

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So the Angels season is unfortunately coming to yet another disappointing end. For three years now, Halos fans have been trying to figure out what exactly would make this team get over that hump and back into the playoffs where they've been an American League staple through the 00's. The boys in Red have yet to taste the playoffs in the new decade and have given a multitude of us here at HH panic attacks and F-Bomb laced freak outs. I broke down the payroll increases over the last 12 years trying to figure out why the Angels have missed the playoffs three years in a row (perhaps it’s because they should be the California or Anaheim Angels, not this LAA of OC of California of US crap). Here are the records over the past 12 years, including how many games back we finished, and our payrolls (pulled from baseballreference.com, wikipedia and a great site called stevetheump.com) just to put it into perspective.

2000 (When we were still distinguished by our true location, Anaheim)

Anaheim Angels $51,464,167 Finished 82-80 9.5 games back of a 91 win Oakland division winner (who spent roughly $31 mil that year)

2001

Anaheim Angels $46,568,180 Finished 75-87 41 games back of a 116 win Seattle division winner (who had a $75 mil payroll that season, good enough to get bounced in the first round)

2002 (World Series Champions Year)

Anaheim Angels $61,721,667 Finished 99-63 4 games back of a 103 win A's division winner (who had the third lowest payroll at $39 mil, good enough to get bounced and the rest is history... “"Erstad says he's got it! Erstad makes the catch! The Anaheim Angels are the champions of baseball!" – Rory Markas R.I.P.)

2003

Anaheim Angels $79,031,667* Finished 77-85 19 games back of a 96 win A's division winner (I was hoping for a 100 win season this year after the ride that was 2002, boy was I disappointed)

*Quick side note, the Angels added a lot of payroll after 2002, increased their payroll by approx $18 mil and it did not translate into victories, however, we can perhaps look to the 03/04 seasons as hope for this team, of course our payroll jumped about $20 mil more in 2004

2004

Anaheim Angels $101,084,667 Finished 92-70 Division winner by 1 game over the Oakland A's (I believe this was Vlad's MVP September) Added approximately $38 mil dollars in payroll over two years and still had less victories than 2002 but won the division

2005

Name Change Madness "Los Angeles" Angels of ANAHEIM $95,017,822 Finished 95-67 Division winner by 5 games over the Oakland A's and the call Angels fans will never forget, the ump screwing Josh Paul and AJ Pureshitski having that stupid little grin like he needs to get punched in the face.

2006

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim $103,472,000* Finished 89-73** Oakland A's win the division by 4 games

*Angels had third highest payroll this season in all of baseball

**Missed the playoffs and our disappointment began as Angels fans but had not quite reached a boiling point

2007

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim $109,251,333 Finished 94-68 Division winner by 6 games over the Seattle Mariners

2008

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim $119,216,333 Finished 100-62 (First 100 win) Division winner by 21 games over the Texas Rangers

2009

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim $113,709,000 Finished 97-65 Division winner by 10 games over the Texas Rangers

2010

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim $105,013,667 Finished 80-82 10 Games back of division winner Texas Rangers

2011

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim $138,998,524 Finished 86-76* 10 Games back of division winner Texas Rangers *Added approx $33 mil in payroll and finished 6 games better

And finally, in the deceivingly disappointing season that has been this year….

2012

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim $154,485,166 Currently 89-71 4 games back of division leading Texas, mathematically eliminated from Postseason on October 1, 2012, 3 games back of second wild card spot leading Oakland A’s

I apologize if that’s an excessive amount of stat quoting, however, I think it’s important to look at the ups and downs of our organization the last 12 years. We have added payroll, thrown money at the problem and are yet to have any consistent success. In 2002 when the Anaheim Angels won the title, their payroll was middle of the road. That ‘02 team had a great mix of free agent veteran’s and homegrown talent. I know it’s easy to look back at the glory days of ’02 and hope that our new homegrown talent (Aybar, Kendrick, Trumbo, P-Bo, Trout and Maronde/Richards) can get to the same level as that ’02 team in the coming years. We’ve had plenty of disappointment as fans, but I think as the statistics and payroll show, you can’t buy championships. CJ was a bust this year, perhaps next year will be different, although I do not see any reason why since he’s having surgery in the offseason. King Albert got off to a slow start and Trout wasn’t up until the very end of April; perhaps next season things will start off a little better.

After adding approximately $49 million in payroll the last two offseasons, this team has added an average of 4.5 more wins over the prior season in that time. I was at the CJ/Pujols presser, I felt the excitement in the air. I went to Opening day, in fact, went twice that weekend. I’ve watched this team, watched their successes (Like Weaver’s no no, or Trout’s worldwide popularity explosion), I’ve watched their failures (notably April and August, but a 14-12 July didn’t help much either).

So what’s my point exactly? All I can say is that I needed to look at the numbers, to evaluate whether this whole theory of mixing cheap youth with (perhaps) over-paid veterans modeled after the Yankees and Red Sux examples works. So far, not so good, but we could look ahead to 2013 with hope and optimism.

I truly believe JeDi has built a winner here. I think we give Soth one more season (2013) and if he doesn’t at least guide us to an ALCS berth, I don’t see any reason to keep him around. Butcher has dealt with a myriad of issues this season and all the blame can not be put on his shoulders for our pitching meltdowns. Ervin, CJ and Haren at some point have all dealt with injury this year. Haren was talking about a dead arm coming out of spring training, that is never a good sign. I believe we pick up the option on Haren, I believe healthy, he is a legitimate No 3 guy in our rotation. Pick up the Haren option, drop the Santana option and offer him a 1 year $5 mil contract with a team option for a 2nd year at $7 mil. If he takes it, great and hopefully he comes into camp healthy (seems to be every other year Santana pitches well, this was a down year). Re-signing Torii to a one year $9 mil contract with a team option for a second year at $9 mil is a fair deal for both sides and needs to be done. This man is our heart and our leader, Pujols will be soon and probably already is with the Latin players, but Torii needs to roam our outfield just a little longer.

Move Howie Kendrick up to the 2 spot in 2013. This former future batting champ needs to spend some time with Pujols and Trout in the hitting cages in the offseason. Then, and only then, can he be a .300 + hitter with gap power to drive in the speedy Trout. As long as Trout gets on base and Howie moves him over, I could care less. Howie is the kind of frustrating player to watch in that you know he has the talent to drive the ball in the gap, but he just can’t lay off that damn tumbling breaking ball low and on the outer half. You’d think after six years of the same hole in his swing, someone would have fixed it by now. Either way, moving Kendrick up to #2 in the order forces pressure on him to perform. With Trout’s speed on the base paths, that record number of ground into double plays (GIDP) we saw this year with Howie should start to fall. At worst, with Trout’s speed, Kendrick can roll over the tops of balls and move Trout over to 2nd more often, effectively becoming a Fielder’s Choice (FC) sacrifice out rather than giving up two outs every other at bat.

Next is Mark Trumbo. Move TrumBOMB to the 6 or 7 hole. With Kendrick secured in the 2 spot, you move Torii down to 5 (presumably right behind Morales if he is kept around). He continues his torrid hitting and loses a bit of speed on the base paths and in the outfield, but otherwise has another productive year hitting around .290 with 12-15 HR’s.

Here is what my ideal 2013 line up would look like:

1. Mike Trout** CF

2. Howie Kendrick 2B

3. Albert Pujols 1B/DH

4. Kendrys Morales 1B/DH

5. Torii Hunter RF

6. Erick Aybar SS

7. Mark Trumbo LF/RF/1B/DH

8. Luis Jiminez*/Alberto Callaspo 3B Platoon

9. Dear God Anyone but Ianetta C

*I know I’m not the first guy to notice Jiminez had a good year, here’s his 2012 thanks to baseballreference.com

Year

Age

Tm

Lg

Lev

Aff

G

PA

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

CS

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

TB

GDP

HBP

SH

SF

IBB

2012

24

Salt Lake

PCL

AAA

LAA

122

517

485

78

150

38

2

16

85

17

7

19

70

.309

.334

.495

.829

240

10

2

5

6

1

It’s a little off but you get the point, young Domincan, good prospect. Decent bottom of the lineup type of hitter

**Also, I’m well aware that most of us believe Trout’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR)

Stat will decline, but I believe (and think most analysts believe) he’s the real deal, the future of baseball and currently best player in the league. Halos need to lock him up long term soon

Now, I’m fully aware that this team is on the brink of either complete success or utter failure and collapse. I hope I didn’t bore you with my un-original statistical analysis, but the way I see it, we added $75,453,499 since December of 2002. I know I’m not a GM and I’m sure there’s going to be plenty of difficult decisions ahead in this offseason, but this utter failure to throw money at a problem is clearly not working. Get rid of the albatross that is Vernon Wells (he’s not your mistake, but you have to clean it up JeDi), trade P-Bo (sorry, I love his speed but just don’t see room for him with more talented outfielding hitters in the minors) for some bullpen help and hope that the young guns Morande/Richards push each other for that number five spot.

I’m no smart guy, I’ve been a fan of the Halos since I was 9. That was 20 years ago, I bleed Angels red, but I can also see the writing on the wall. I wasn’t around for some of the great Angels collapses (’86 and too young to remember ‘95). I’m lucky enough to have lived in the golden age of Angels baseball, which I’m sure not all of you are. All I hope is that this team could look into itself, look at what it stands for here in Orange County, as the little guy that could mix it up with the big boys, a major league team in its own right; not some conglomerate who sells every inch of space…but I digress.

Yes, we’ve all been critical and hopeful. Had happy moments and tears fall down our cheeks. Whether you witness the excitement of the fresh cut grass on Opening Day 2013 or begrudgingly look towards the NFL and NBA as sweet relief, just know, the Angels will be back and we will be better than ever (I hope).

* Information for this article was pulled from baseball-reference.com, special thanks to them and www.stevetheump.com/payrolls and the Angels Wikipedia site for statistical data. All things written in this post are the personal opinions of its writer and in no way speaks for any of the following organizations: Major League Baseball, Angels Baseball or SB Nation Halos Heaven forum.

Follow me on twitter @mczarnota

I write about Angels and other stuff....

This Fan-Post is authored by an independent fan. Tell us what you think and how you feel.

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