The Los Angeles Angels Might Finish Last In The AL West

The Los Angeles Angels are in disarray. After a promising April, the Angels have not recorded a .500 or better record in any month. A recent 3-7 stretch has the Angels at risk of falling into last place in the AL West, and they still have two of the best baseball players in the world on their team. The big question is; how?

Obviously when a team bottoms out this badly, there are multiple reasons for the collapse. The most surprising element is that they are one of the teams that is more willing to spend on the free agent market, but when they do, it just doesn’t seem to work out.

When the Angels inked Anthony Rendon to a seven year $245 million contract, the idea of bringing him into an offense that already featured Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani was a scary proposition. Unfortunately, Rendon has only appeared in 40% of possible games now that he will miss the rest of the 2022 season.

One thing that seemed to foreshadow a potentially disappointing marriage between Rendon and his next team occurred at the end of the 2019 World Series. During a celebratory post game interview, the reporter asked Rendon where he saw himself in 10 years. Rendon, who was 29 at the time, replied, “Hopefully not playing baseball.”

While this was an objectively funny response and a realistic one considering he would be 39 at that point, it was not the answer you would expect from a professional athlete. Rendon’s honesty could have easily been misinterpreted in a number of negative ways, but the way his career has unfolded since then has given this response an eerie undertone.

Rendon was having an honest moment, but this statement could have also been used against him in his free agency. Perhaps potential suitors saw this as a lack of commitment or dedication, and this may have impacted the amount of money or years they wanted to invest in Rendon.

However, the Angels are a team that is not shy about taking big financial risks for potentially big on field rewards. It just seems that the Angels seem to miss on these deals more often than other teams. The signings of Albert Pujols, Justin Upton, and Josh Hamilton still loom large in the minds of Angel fans.

It is also astonishing how players like Jared Walsh, Brandon Marsh, and Jo Adell have struggled to adjust to the league adjusting to them following hot starts. Taylor Ward is the only one of the bunch that seems to have sustained an above average level of play despite possibly being the least heralded prospect of the bunch.

The Angels have historically struggled to get solid pitching to match its offense, but now they suddenly can’t hit. Over the past month they are last in team wRC+ at home and 27th in team wRC+ on the road. Although their rotation isn’t elite by any stretch, their top three starters have generally performed better than their top three starters in recent years.

Essentially, the Angels just can’t get anything right. Which is a shame because they do have Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, yet they will once against not play on the national stage in the playoffs. Even worse is that a recent 8-2 ten game stretch for the Oakland Athletics put them within striking distance of the Angels in the AL West.

If the Angels end up moving some players in order to attempt an earnest rebuild, there does not seem to be much optimism that they can execute a rebuild successfully. When they are on the fringes of competitiveness, misguided spending results in disappointment.

Additionally, the stalling out of players like Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh at the Major League level raises questions about their player development. Poor player development, bad free agent spending, and bad luck seems to equal another lost year for the Los Angeles Angels. If they end up finishing in last place this season, that may be the most surprising result for any team in MLB.