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September 26, 2013

Painting the Black

The Angels' Demons

by R.J. Anderson


When the Angels and Reds opened the season, many wondered if the matchup was a World Series preview. The teams possessed the parts necessary for an enticing showdown, including multiple superstars, very visible managers, and talented supporting casts. Most everyone expected the clubs to reach the postseason, and how far they would go from there was anyone's guess. But by the time the Reds clinched a playoff berth on Monday night, the Angels had been eliminated from postseason contention for two days.

These are uncertain times for the Angels. Reported tension between Mike Scioscia and Jerry Dipoto could fuel a dismissal, though who and when remain unclear. A common belief that the Angels are screwed adds to the cheerless state. The club's recent free-agent splurges netted them Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Josh Hamilton, and nearly $107 million in 2016 guarantees; the average team is closer to $40 million. They have not drafted higher than 59th since 2011—a consequence of those free-agent signings—and have starved a farm system in need of quality talent. Topping it off is the lackluster production from the trio, as they combined this season for seven Wins Above Replacement Player.

Is there hope for an Angels turnaround, or are they damned to mediocrity? The enviable core remains in place. Pujols, Hamilton and Mike Trout formed arguably the best position-player threesome in the game entering the season; however, a lot has changed in six months.

Pujols failed to play in 140 or more games for the first time in his career. While betting on a soon-to-be 34-year-old regaining his past durability is a losing proposition, there is reason for optimism. Pujols had dealt with plantar fasciitis for

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Related Content:  Los Angeles Angels,  Mike Scioscia,  Jerry Dipoto

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Skewed Left: The Canad... (09/26)
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Premium Article Painting the Black: Th... (09/23)
Next Column >>
Painting the Black: Th... (11/05)
Next Article >>
Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (09/26)

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