October 3, 2012
A Very Good Team and a Very Bad Season
The day that the Angels introduced Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, or the day they introduced Zack Greinke, or the day they called up Mike Trout, or the day they signed Eric Hurley to a minor-league contract, or the day they didn’t do anything except file their expense accounts and clean out their inboxes, they could have said the same. Winning, of course, is the ultimate judgment. It’s the end of the story. It’s not the whole story, though, and figuring out just what, why, and how about the Angels’ season—or, more specifically, about the decisions that went into the Angels’ season—is a lot more complicated than Moreno's construction.
There are two ways of looking at the Angels' season. They are just four games behind the best team in the American League. They are going to finish with 90 or 91 wins; our preseason PECOTAs projected them for 90. Going back over the past 12 years, 60 percent of teams that won 87 to 90 games made the playoffs. The Angels were a very good team and, but for the other teams that played better (duh), they could have made the playoffs.
But they won’t. That’s the other way to look at the Angels' season. They won’t. They took a team that won 86 games last year and signed the best free agent hitter available, and the best free agent pitcher available, and lost nobody of value, and they won’t make the playoffs. They added the best rookie in history, a player who is having the greatest season in franchise history, and they won’t make the playoffs. They added a dominant closer, and they won’t make the playoffs. They traded for the best pitcher available at midseason, and they won’t make the playoffs. And they removed Jeff Mathis, and they won’t make the playoffs. It’s the craziest thing.
So did somebody make a mistake with these Angels?