After yet another season without a playoff appearance, the Los Angeles Angels’ prolonged drought seems unending. The Angels, often described as the epitome of doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results, find themselves in a disheartening situation.
The Angels last graced the playoffs in 2014, and now, the looming possibility of losing two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani in the upcoming offseason casts a shadow of uncertainty. However, if such a scenario unfolds, the blame for this predicament squarely rests upon their own shoulders.
In their relentless pursuit of victory, the Angels have engaged in major free-agent signings, only to see these investments fail to yield desired outcomes. Consequently, the team remains ensnared in a ceaseless quest for answers.
A recent in-depth analysis by insider Sam Blum in The Athletic meticulously dissects the disarray within the Angels organization. This investigation reveals a distressing narrative characterized by frugality and a flawed approach to achieving success.
“They’re a typical small-market team,” said a former Angels coach at both the major- and minor-league level. “I say ‘small market.’ I know it’s not a small market. But the way the Angels go about it, it’s generally small market.”
Situated in the heart of Southern California, the Angels should inherently be a coveted destination for players. Yet, they have fallen perilously behind their regional counterparts, such as the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Much of this regression can be attributed to owner Arte Moreno’s decision-making and the organizational ethos that permeates from the highest echelons.
“Each organization takes a different approach to their baseball operations and player development efforts, we are no different,” Carpino wrote. “We are constantly reflecting on the lessons learned throughout the course of a season and will continue to make adjustments with the intent of strengthening all aspects of our organization. Every investment we make at both the Major League and Minor League levels is done with the with the primary focus of putting a winning team on the field and driving towards the Championship that our fans and players deserve.”
Nevertheless, team president John Carpino, after declining an interview request from Blum, felt compelled to defend the organization’s actions through an email correspondence. Carpino posited that the Angels have never been averse to financial investments aimed at securing victories. The crux of the issue, according to Carpino, lies in how these financial resources are allocated. Rather than fostering talent from within, the Angels have habitually sought to resolve problems by injecting substantial sums into player acquisitions. This approach has culminated in the team languishing at the bottom rungs of the farm system rankings for an extended period.
“Player development is the lifeblood of any franchise because it provides a flow of inexpensive players, everyone from fill-ins for injured stars — like, say, Trout — to the nightly supporting cast. But the Angels have long struggled to advance their young players.”
Thriving baseball franchises harmoniously blend homegrown talent with strategic free-agent signings, a formula quintessential to success in the modern era. However, the Angels appear to be trailing their peers in this regard. Encouragingly, the team currently boasts several promising young players on its roster, hinting at the possibility of brighter days ahead.
In an ideal scenario, the Angels will glean valuable lessons from past missteps, enabling them to harness their full potential and ascend to the ranks of the league’s elite. Yet, until such a transformation materializes, they will remain ensnared by the familiar pitfalls that consign them to mediocrity.