Somewhere out there Bill Stoneman is smiling. The Angels entered the trade deadline with obvious needs and a determination to address those needs but for some reason unbeknownst to me decided to sit on their hands and do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. There is bound to be a veritable flood of Angel propaganda coming our way in the very near future about how the club is so confident in their current roster and how great the chemistry is and the bullpen is really coming together. But you know what all of that is? Unmitigated bullshit.
Somehow the Angels expect us all to believe that the starting rotation will be just fine come the post-season despite the fact that Ervin Santana, Jered Weaver and Joe Saunders all have ERAs north of 6.00 in the month of July with no signs that any of them are close to coming around much less rounding into dominant form. Have they forgotten that starting pitching wins championships?
Now, I know that the Halos went hard after Roy Halladay but ultimately came up short. I don’t even totally blame them for this as it sounds like J.P. Ricciardi is the one who got cold feet and was dealing like a moron. Still, the Angels could have made it happen. When Joe Saunders gets rocked in the ALDS nobody is going to care that Tony Reagins tried really hard to trade for Halladay only that he failed to acquire him
And what happened with Cliff Lee? Baseball experts all agree that Philadelphia committed a total heist in their deal for the defending Cy Young winner. How did the Angels not jump in and top that offer? I have a hard time believing that what the Angels offered Toronto at the deadline (and almost got the deal done) wouldn’t have easily trumped the Phillies’ offer for Lee.
Tony Reagins: Angels GM or Anti-Christ? You make the call!
As much as the loss of Lee and Halladay hurts the Angels post-season chances, Reagins might very well have damned the Angels to another disappointing season by failing to address the porous bullpen. The Angels are right;e the relievers have improved from their wretched start to the season. Then again, it isn’t hard to improve on one of the biggest natural disasters since Hurricane Katrina. Each and every Angel reliever has been going through wild ups and downs the entire season which will leave the Halos hoping that when October rolls around that they catch the bullpen on an upswing. Even if they do, there isn’t a soul out there who can honestly tell me they aren’t scared out of their mind at the prospect of Kevin Jepsen and Darren Oliver handling set-up duties in the post-season pressure cooker. Mark my words, come the ALDS everyone will be thinking back to this very day wondering how it is the Angels were so blind to such an obvious deficiency.
But to Tony Reagins, this is all of no import. To him the lack of a deal is just a minor bump in the road. His excuse for not making a deal is, “There was no match.” No match? What is this eHarmony? Does J.P. Ricciardi need to take you out to a nice dinner and seduce you with some Barry White music? Baseball is a competition not a blind date. The strongest thrive and survive. If you want to stand by on the sidelines and watch everyone else move past you, do it with some other franchise. Winning a title in a lousy division isn’t good enough anymore and may not even happen now that the Rangers are actually pretty decent. If you don’t take any risks, you can’t reap any rewards.
Almost every other contender took a chance and completed at least one trade of some degree. Besides the Angels, the only other two title hopefuls who stood on the sidelines were the Rays and Rangers who were both handcuffed by financial constraints. They all found a way to make a move because they are all smart enough to know that winning in the regular season is completely different than winning in the post-season, a lesson that has escaped Angel management since 2003. Yet the Angels were one of the few teams that actually could have taken on salary but they refused. Nonetheless, a number of other contenders reached down deep to improve their title outlook. Just look at the Chicago White Sox. They are scrapping for the AL Central title and needed to give themselves a boost and somehow pulled a Jake Peavy trade out of their ass. Now that is how real GMs operate!
What is truly amazing is what can change from one year to the next. This time last year everyone was lauding Tony Reagins’s aggressiveness in acquiring Mark Teixeira, and rightly so. But this year that same bravado was nowhere to be seen. Did getting burned by Teixeira in free agency really make him that gun shy?
For now we fans have no choice but to sit idly by and watch the Angels fight for another AL West title and hope that this lack of movement doesn’t bit them in the ass later.