The Los Angeles Angels had arguably one of their worst seasons in franchise history. In fact, the last time they won less than 74 games, was the 1999 season.
The Los Angeles Angels finished the 2016 season feeling better about their chances next season. The team collectively seemed to have found a niche in pitcher Ricky Nolasco and outfielder Jefry Marte. The Angels have a few lingering issues to cope with heading into the winter meetings. However, many believe that reflection on this season is needed to avoid the same mistakes next season.
June was a month the Angels won eight games.That was the month when the injury bug feasted on the Angels starting rotation. The Angels did what any ball club would have done, sign the best possible pitcher to help stop the bleeding.
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As a fan, you can’t help but feel like more could have been done prior to the trade deadline. Although, you can’t force teams to make trades and accept players they don’t want. Still, the Angels made some moves and brought in two pitchers for the price of one.
It’s unclear if these moves and situations will make the Angels stronger of if they’ll continue to haunt the Angels like the ever growing clown problem sweeping our nation. One thing is clear, the Angels have to start moving forward in the standings, or Mike Trout will be going somewhere else in the near future. Here are three things to think about going into 2017.
Mar 9, 2016; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno (L) talks to manager Mike Scioscia (14) before a spring training game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
1. The Los Angeles Angels need to invest in great players.
The overall fan base of the Angels remains divided on one key issue. That issue is whether to spend money and bringing some much-needed talent or try and rebuild through the draft. It appears that there is no middle ground in this situation, the Angels must break open the piggy bank and spend money.
One thing the Angels desperately need a good solid starting pitcher. The Pittsburg Pirates have Ivan Nova set for free agency this offseason, and Andrew Cashner is also available. The other big issue is the left field position, the Angels must spend big to solidify that side of the field and add in some extra hitting as well.
There’s also a hole at the second base position, if the Angels we’re willing to spend some serious cash, they could sign free agent Neil Walker. Last season, Walker blasted 23 home runs with the New York Mets.
While these moves seem out of the realm of possibilities, I do believe they are needed for the Angels to succeed next season. Honestly, I just don’t see Arte Moreno opening up the checkbook and writing anything that would come close to bringing these players in.
September 30, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels shortstop Cliff Pennington (7) celebrates the 7-1 victory against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
2. The Los Angeles Angels named a new director of scouting.
Following the departure of Jerry Dipoto, the Angels scramble to sign Billy Eppler as their new GM. So far he’s done as best of a job as he can. The fact of the matter is Eppler walked into a franchise that overspent on injury prone players.
Now, Eppler is charged with the task of cleaning house and getting the Angels back to their winning ways. One way this is being done is through new scouting director Matt Swanson. Swanson is a former pitcher for the Pittsburg Pirates and has been scouting players as a midwest crosschecker for the St. Louis Cardinals.
This stems as a major upgrade for our farming system which has taken a massive hit to pay other players salaries. Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson, and Albert Pujols have taken a huge chunk out of the Angels payroll. With C.J. Wilson now a free agent, and one more year of Hamilton, the Angels can focus on rebuilding the farm.
Sep 27, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia before the game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
3. What will the Los Angeles Angels do with Mike Scioscia?
At this moment the Angels are not parting ways with clubhouse manager Mike Scioscia. Billy Eppler has stated throughout the season and Sosh’s job is safe. I’ve stated throughout the season that maybe the Angels should move in a different direction. Perhaps a new, younger, clubhouse manager is needed.
However, since Sosh will be back, he’ll have to guide the Angels through another season. His record as the manager speaks for itself. Sosh is one of the winningest managers in baseball. If the Angels bring in raw talent or a veteran free agent, his job will be a lot easier. If he has to suffer through another season of injuries and telling the media to “trust the process” he’ll unlikely be at the very least on the hot seat.
Regardless of how you view Sosh, he will be the Angels clubhouse manager next season. Hopefully, there will be more to work with, which is up to Moreno and Eppler.
As a fan, you have to feel good about the Angels going into next season. If the Angels can tweak the roster, the bullpen, and the farming system, they’ll have a huge chance to compete for the AL West title again.