Could Angels Have Bungled This Any Worse?
So it will be the Angels’ 50th anniversary season, and the organization is busy planning all sorts of happy celebrations for the summer.
They’re kidding, right? What is to celebrate after this, maybe the most bungled offseason in franchise history?
Seriously, even the Clippers run things better than this.
It is one thing for Arte Moreno to openly announce he will spend whatever it takes to show the team will compete and then fail to spend much of anything. But it is another to sit there and watch two of the three most sought-after free agents go to your direct competition.
First, Carl Crawford, a player most people thought the Angels had all locked up, bolts, instead, for Boston. Now, to make matters worse, it is being widely reported that Adrian Beltre, perhaps the best fit of all for Anaheim, has signed a multiyear deal with Texas.
I mean, what’s next? Trading Jered Weaver to Seattle for a couple of players to be named later?
The organization can spin it any way it wants — my favorite is “We have the equivalent of a great free agent coming back in Kendry Morales” — but Moreno has been clearly exposed as an owner who simply will not compete with the big boys in baseball.
He screams he’s not the Yankees or Red Sox who have more revenue streams. OK, what does he say now that the Rangers, who were on the edge of bankruptcy a few months ago, have outbid him for Beltre, who is not only a 100 RBI guy but a brilliant defensive player, as well? How does he explain that one?
If you want, I could give you 50 ways — one for every year of the team’s existence — that the Beltre thing is an absolute killer for Angels fans. But just for starters, Texas already had a lineup with three or four more quality, run-producing hitters than Anaheim. Now the one that could have leveled the playing field somewhat for Mike Scioscia’s club instead will make the Rangers even more potent.
The gap between these two teams already was huge. Now it has become wider than a Texas plain. And no, I don’t buy the Morales return as the equivalent to signing Crawford or Beltre. The truth is, every team the Angels play will be pitching around Morales in the lineup, daring the rest of that popgun lineup to beat it.
Expect Moreno to come out any time now and explain that Beltre wasn’t worth the $90 million-plus Texas shelled out for six years. Technically, he is right. He probably is not a $90 million player. But when your main competitor is the other bidder, sometimes you have to pay the going market price, even if you have to deal with Scott Boras.
Arte supposedly offered $70 million-plus for five years, or about $15 mill a year. All the Rangers really did was bump that a million a year and extend the offer for one season.
Is that really too much to match when everything you’re trying to do in the next couple of seasons, your whole image included, is at stake? I don’t think so.
Unfortunately, Moreno doesn’t agree. So now what happens to the Angels? There is talk of signing ex-Dodger Scott Posednik. Wow, that will really excite the populace. Posednik is actually a decent leadoff hitter and fits in left field, even if he is getting up there in age. But he has no power on a team desperate for another run producer.
It will be left to GM Tony Reagins to try to get creative and work some kind of trade, except there has been no evidence up to this point that he is capable of that. Mike Napoli is there, as a chip he can use, but a sub-.250 hitter, even with Napoli’s power, won’t bring you anyone near the caliber of Crawford or Beltre.
Season ticket holders are being asked this week to send in their confirmations for 2011. It will be interesting to see how many hesitate in view of the team’s glaring lack of activity since the end of that listless 2010 finish.
This was the winter when it was all supposed to change, when Moreno was waving his wallet and promising that he’d be opening it up to prove he’s serious about going after the best players out there.
Well, you’ve seen the result. Jayson Werth is in Washington, Crawford is in Boston and Beltre is in Texas. Meanwhile, not one single player has been added to help strengthen Scioscia’s limp offense.
Getting back to our original question: Could the Angels have bungled this offseason any worse?
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, the answer is no.
— STEVE BISHEFF