Tuesday, July 30, 2013

#Angels Pay Heavy Price for Pujols Gamble

I wrote about this at the time, hoping for the best, hoping to avoid an albatross.

There's always next year, but if you're an Angels fan, it seems like such a waste.

At the New York Times:
Arte Moreno basked in the spotlight of his own making at Angel Stadium in December 2011. Moreno, the owner of the Los Angeles Angels, was there to announce the signing of Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $240 million contract. Moreno explained that he was motivated partly by a desire to keep up with the Yankees, who had beaten the Angels in the 2009 playoffs.

“We could play Boston, then the Yankees, and we weren’t prepared to play with them,” Moreno said that day. “You look at what you can develop in the organization, what can you do in the market, what are the Band-Aids you can apply. We just didn’t feel like we had the depth to compete at the level we wanted to compete at.”

By trying to imitate the Yankees, Moreno’s team has become them: worse, actually.

The Yankees, of course, are feverishly hoping to escape the remaining four-plus years on their bloated 10-year, $275 million contract with Alex Rodriguez. One way out would be a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball for Rodriguez’s involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, but that seems unlikely.

In any case, for all of Rodriguez’s baggage, he did lead the Yankees to a championship in 2009, the second year of his contract. For the Angels, the second year of the Pujols deal has become another washout.

While the creaky Yankees remain in the pennant race, gamely grabbing Alfonso Soriano and others to stay in it, the Angels effectively dropped out on Monday. They traded their most effective reliever, the left-hander Scott Downs, to the Atlanta Braves for the minor league reliever Cory Rasmus.

It was not a major move, but the timing was a clear acknowledgment of the Angels’ plight: the deal came two days before the non-waiver deadline, and one day after the news that Pujols was likely to miss the rest of the season with a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot.

“I saw him earlier this season, and it hurt me to watch him run,” said one major league scout, who was granted anonymity so he could candidly discuss another team’s player. “It reminded me of when Mark McGwire had that problem, although he was in his late 20s. It might take Pujols a little bit longer.”
More at that top link.

But like I said earlier, I'm shifting this season's loyalties to the Dodger. They have a shot at the championship.