The Los Angeles Angels have been getting roasted for their personnel decisions for a long time. When they signed Anthony Rendon to a huge contract, the jokes were akin to, "OK great now the Angels will only lose games 9-6 instead of 9-3." Those jokes were over-the-top examples that at this point are hitting a little too close to home.
Then, back in May, a Twitter user had an all-timer of a joke.
First of all, I am claiming "Akron Groomsmen" for my next band name. Back off. Secondly, I love poking fun at the absurdity of old-timey baseball names. Thirdly, let's look at what the Angels did on Thursday night.
How in the name of all that is Hank Aaron holy do you hit seven home runs in a game and still lose? Honestly, I am past propriety at this point—how in the name of holy hell does that happen? I am a baseball guy. If you asked me to come up with a satirical tweet lampooning how bad the Angels are, I would fail to come up with something this depressing. The truth is, in fact, stranger than fiction.
Ohtani and Trout
I hate to beat a dead horse here, but we have to revisit this. The Angels have two unicorn players. Mike Trout is still one of the best baseball players to ever wear a uniform. If you think that's hyperbole, you're flat out wrong and you should be ashamed for being so dense. Shohei Ohtani is the first player since T̶u̶n̶g̶s̶t̶e̶n̶ ̶A̶r̶m̶ ̶O̶'̶D̶o̶y̶l̶e̶ Babe Ruth to be dominant on the mound and at the plate.
Trout has only played 79 games and now will miss extensive time due to a devastating back injury. Despite missing that time, Trout and Ohtani have combined to produce 9.4 bWAR. Trout and Ohtani's combined 48 home runs account for 40% of the Angels' total of 119 home runs. The Angels are 26th in the league in runs scored. They're 18th in team ERA.
Do you see where I am going with this? Angels fans look away or take this hard-to-swallow pill. Every criticism of the Angels as a baseball organization rings true in their results. They are a top-heavy team who struggles even when their top pieces are producing. They don't have a terrific farm system. Their pitching is on the lower side of mediocre in a good season. It stinks from top to bottom.
After signing Anthony Rendon to a 7-year, 245 million dollar contract, Rendon has contributed 3.6 fWAR in the three years he has been there. People wanted the Angels to invest that money into a pitching arm. Frankly, Arte Moreno's money needs to be put less into top-heavy roster acquisitions and more into the coaching, development, and research & development teams.
By the way, Dylan Hernandez, we all saw this. We aren't letting you slide for having one of the worst "freezing cold takes" ever written by a professional. Ohtani and Trout may be fun to watch, but watching a team get waxed every night despite having two elite players is not fun. It's infuriating.
Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani deserve to be on teams who compete to win. The Angels have not been to the playoffs since 2014. Who knows when they will get there again? They might want to start flapping their arms. It's their last chance.