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Angels on a budget

How to build a major league team on the cheap

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Leftovers are good at Thanksgiving time.  They are not good when you are trying to build a major league roster.

I wasn't able to watch most of the Angels game last night, or visit the forum thread on the game.  I did, however, manage catch a comment in the thread at one point (from MH252525), that went something like "how much of this team was built on pieces from teams that no one else else wanted, so Arte was in because they were cheap."

I'm paraphrasing that a bit, you you get the gist of it.  Winning and championship teams are not built on leftovers.  Rebuilding teams are not built on leftovers.  Teams that are barely limping by because they are hamstrung from bad contracts and don't want to pay a luxury tax are built on other team's leftovers.  And you know who pays the price for this?  The fans.  Mike Trout.  Kole Calhoun.  Bad decisions by team ownership have made Mike Trout miss out on 1-2 MVP awards and he will miss out on another one this year.  You don't get an MVP by playing on a team with 70-80 wins.

This year, the Cubs are rolling probably all the way to the World Series.  They spent their money wisely, but they did spend it.  Building up their farm system and purchase pieces at the right time have set them on course to win 100+ games in 2016.

So what about the Angels roster construction?  Let's take a look at that and see where we picked up another team's leftovers:

Geovany Soto was traded for cash from the Rangers to A's in 2014 then played on a minor league contract for the WHite Sox in 2015 before electing free agency at the end of 2015 - right before the Angels grabbed him.

First Base
Ji-Man Choi was DFA's by the Mariners in 2015 before being picked up by the Orioles from whom the Angels claimedhim via the Rule 5 draft.  Very few players have ever worked out coming from the Rule 5 draft.

Second Base
Johnny Giavotella was swapped with low-hope Angels minor leaguer Brian Broderick after the Royals DFA's him

Short Stop
Newest bargain, Brendan Ryan was released by the Cubs in December and spent a brief time with the Nationals in the minors before they dumped him on the Angels for cash.

Cliff Pennington was traded for cash from the Diamondbacks to the Blue Jays last fall.  He became a free agent at the end of the season.  No one was knocking down his door.

Craig Gentry elected free agency over the winter after the A's outrighted him to the minors.
Daniel Nava was signed by the Angles after he was DFA'd by the Rays
Shane Roberinson was released by the Indians after spring training and signed a day later by the Angles (to AAA initially)

A.J. Achter was signed off waivers after being DFA's by the Phillies in December.
Javy Guerra was signed as a free agent after barely pitching at all in 2015 (in part due to a 50 game drug suspension)

So there you have it.  Nearly every position around the diamond has a player that no one else wanted. Hard to imagine why the Angels would be having a tough year, right?  Most of the Angels pitching staff has actually been home grown, but 8 of our 13 position players have been had on a bargain.