I don’t know if you have heard, but the decade is ending. You’d think people would be making a bigger deal out of this seemingly significant but actually totally insignificant event. Oh, they are? Right. Since you are probably tired of reading all the “Best of” decade lists, let’s flip the script and take a not so fond look back at the worst and/or most hated Angels of the past decade. So, without further adieu, I give you the Angels All-Decade Suck Squad!!!:
Congratulations! You suck!! Oh, not congratulations. I actually meant whatever the opposite of that is.
C- Josh Paul, I kind of feel bad about this one. Paul only did what was expected of a third-string catcher. Why the Angels insisted on carrying three catchers is a different conversation for a different time. The real reason Josh Paul makes this team is because of one play, that, of course, being the infamous “dropped” third strike play. Even though replay shows Paul did not actually let the ball hit the dirt, a fact any Angel fan knows all too well, all Paul had to do was play it safe and lay a quick tag on Pierzynski who was just standing there and the whole course of that ALCS might have been much, much different.
1B- Mark Teixeira, Tex was actually really freaking good as an Angel, so maybe he shouldn’t be on this list. Then again, he also screwed the Angels over to sign with the Yankees and beat the Angels in the ALCS. That makes him a royal dick and a charter member of the All-Suck Squad.
2B- Benji Gil, Gil really wasn’t that bad in his tenure with the Angels, but he wasn’t terribly good either. He held his own against left-handed pitching, but what he mostly did was prevent Adam Kennedy from being on the field full-time which nobody realized was actually a bad thing until the 2002 World Series run.
3B- Edgardo Alfonzo, Alfonzo made quite the bad impression in just 50 at-bats as an Angel. Not only did he post a .255 OPS during his brief stint as an Angel, but he bitched about playing time the whole time. Let’s just say there is a reason that Alfonzo was last seen playing for an independent minor league team.
SS- Kevin Stocker, Stocker was so bad as an Angel that he was actually the lesser half of a platoon with fellow All-Suck squad teammate Benji Gil. He hit just .197 as an Angel and was yet another player on this team whose last season as an Angel was also his last season as a big leaguer.
LF- Jose Guillen, Say hello to the All-Decade Suck Squad Team Captain. I don’t care that Guillen had a very good statistical season in his lone year as an Angel. He headlines this team because he cemented his status as the most-hated former Angel possibly ever when he showed up Mike Scioscia during a game and (allegedly) even tried to take a swing at him. Guillen’s action earned him a suspension just in time to screw over the Angels in the playoffs just to add to his legend as the biggest Angel villain of the decade.
CF- Steve Finley, And so begins the long line of failed Angel outfielder free agents. Finley was touted for his ability to deft his advanced age only to have his age catch up with him the second that he donned the Halo Red. His only positive contribution as an Angel was giving magic sacks to some of the other older players on the team to help them defy age too. The sacks didn’t do crap, but at least it was good a for a few weeks of Steve Finley’s magic sack jokes.
RF- Gary Matthews, The first All-Suck team member who is still on the team… but hopefully not for much longer. Matthews was given one of the worst contracts of the decade to be the Angels’ new starting centerfielder. That experiment lasted one season before the Halos realized Matthews couldn’t hit and wasn’t that good of a fielder. Now he is the highest paid fourth outfielder in baseball even if he still ignorantly believes that he deserves to be a starter on some other team in the league.
DH- Shea Hillenbrand, What is really funny about Shea Hillenbrand’s brief but disastrous tour as an Angel was that the team never even really wanted him and only signed him because they needed to add a righty power bat and he was literally the only veteran bat on the market with a recognizable name. Hillenbrand was so bad for the Angels that year that it wound up being his last major league season.
BENCH- Raul Mondesi, Despite playing just eight games for the Angels, Mondesi earned himself a special place in Angel infamy. When the Halos signed Raul to bolster an injury-ravaged Angel roster, he sparked quite a bit of hype over what might have been the best throwing outfield of all time between him, Guillen and Vladimir Guerrero. All that hype was short-lived as Mondesi went and got hurt almost immediately and then inexplicably refused to meet with team doctors and got his ass cut. So much for that.
SP- Aaron Sele, I almost forgot just how bad Aaron Sele was during his three years as an Angel. Mainly because he was an expensive former All-Star, Sele held down a rotation spot for three seasons despite never posting an ERA under 4.89. Arm problems played a role in that especially since he kept saying that he was just on the verge of working threw those issues only he never did.
RHP- Justin Speier, The Angels had a few relievers that performed worse than Justin Speier did, the problem was Speier’s contract, which the Angels are still paying on despite releasing him last year. Even after registering a stellar 2.88 ERA in his first season as a Halo, Speier became the text book example for why nobody gives relievers over 33 four-year contracts anymore. The Halos really could have used a bounceback season from Speier when the bullpen was falling apart last year, but instead he just served to make the problem even worse.
LHP- J.C. Romero, I guess PEDs don’t work 100% of the time, or at least not for J.C. Romero. The Angels gave up a quality prospect in Alexi Casilla to bring in Romero when they finally admitted they needed a quality lefty out of the pen but Romero forgot about the quality part and had the worst season of his pro career with a 6.70 ERA. What really stings is that Romero has been quite awesome since leaving the Halos. Why he couldn’t do that as an Angel still remains a mystery. Oh, no it doesn’t, he was using PEDs and was even suspended for it before this most recent season.
CL- Brian Fuentes, The Angels have been blessed with great closers in the form of Troy Percival and Francisco Rodriguez and for half a season they thought the trend was going to continue with Brian Fuentes. Tito made the All-Star team and led the majors in saves but also became the most reviled Angel reliever in some time after he began to meltdown in the second half of last season. Fuentes still believes that he can get players out without actually throwing strikes and the results are not pretty. Ironically, the one time he did throw a strike was in the ALCS when he grooved a belt-high fastball right into Alex Rodriguez’s wheelhouse on an 0-2 count that resulted in a game-tying homer in a game that the Angels eventually lost. Had Fuentes been an actual good closer, the Angels could have won that game and tied the series and possibly even upset the Yankee juggernaut. At least he won’t be the closer again next season… ah, crap.