And then there were none.
Ryan Madson? Never played.
Tommy Hanson? Non-tendered.
Joe Blanton? Released with a year left on his contract.
It goes without saying, but that press conference pictured above didn’t exactly work out very well. Not a single one of those acquisitions paid off in even the most remote sense. Those four players combined to cost the Angels $30.225 million and reliever Jordan Walden. What did they get in return? A combined 216 innings, 5.63 ERA and 0.0 WAR. Honestly, it is a shock that their cumulative WAR is as high as 0.0.
Jerry Dipoto and Angels fans want nothing more than to forget those ill-fated moves, but they can’t because of that infamous picture which will forever link those four players inextricably. If anything, the Angels should consider themselves lucky that the curse hasn’t touched Scioscia… yet. It is almost like an Angels version of Final Destination. The next thing we know Scioscia is going to keel over in the dugout, dead from choking on a bad piece of gnocchi.
Really, we all should’ve known better. And I’m not referring to Blanton being a terrible pitcher throughout much of his career. Nor am I talking about all the red flags with Hanson, his wonky shoulder and rapidly declining velocity. I’m also not pointing out that Sean Burnett pitched through forearm issues in 2012. I won’t even mention that Ryan Madson was coming off of Tommy John surgery and hadn’t yet started throwing at the time that he was signed. I mean, those are all HUGE, MASSIVE warning signs that any one of those moves might blow up in Dipoto’s face, much less all four.
No, we all should’ve known that this was destined for complete failure across the board the second we saw this photo. Just look at the expressions on their faces. Joe Blanton looks like he had his memory wiped, which would explain how it is he forgot how to pitch in the 2013 season. Tommy Hanson looks like he is about to cry, just like Angels fans whenever his turn in the rotation came up. Sean Burnett appears to be trying to muffle a scream, probably from the intense stabbing pain in his pitching arm. Ryan Madson isn’t even paying attention, probably because he knows that this would be the only time he ever actually put on an Angels jersey.
Perhaps the most overlooked aspect though is the press conference itself. The picture doesn’t show it, but there was basically nobody there. If I recall correctly, there were six members of the media there and that was it. Four acquisitions being paraded around all at once and the only people who showed up to see it were the members of the local media who were obligated to be there. No fans, no national media. Nothing. There were more members of the Angels organization in attendance than there were non-members.
It is almost like everyone else knew something that the Angels didn’t.