The Los Angeles Angels, by now, have broken lots of hearts with their play over the last few years.
The 2021 season, sadly, wasn’t an exception to the rule: they are currently 74-83 with less than a week to play, and they have been out of the race for a postseason spot for weeks now.
Trout went down with a grade 2 right calf strain in late May.
That’s an injury that usually requires players to be out between six and eight weeks.
Trout didn’t make it back.
Rendon, on the other hand, saw his season end with a right hip impingement, but also suffered hamstring, knee, groin and triceps problems.
However, they had a historic season from Shohei Ohtani (45 home runs as a hitter, 3.18 ERA in 130.1 innings as a pitcher) and couldn’t even sniff a postseason spot.
A Flawed Organization
It’s clear that there is something wrong in the organization, given that the last time they qualified to the postseason was back in 2014.
The closest the Angels came to being relevant since Trout got there was when they won 98 games in 2014 but got swept in the ALDS. They haven't won a postseason game since 2009 or had a winning season since 2015.
— David Martinez Is Elite (@GhostofDibble) August 23, 2021
Trout is a big league regular since 2011, and that remains his only playoff participation.
Ohtani has been with the team since 2018, and the Angels haven’t had a single winning season over that span.
Pitching is a recurring problem with the Angels.
In the winter of 2019, they failed to lure ace Gerrit Cole, and he ended up signing with the New York Yankees.
During the past offseason, they swung and missed with Trevor Bauer, although they are surely feeling good about that one now given his legal issues.
Still, the team’s front office is seemingly unable to lure big pitchers in free agency, and they certainly haven’t shown the necessary resolve to bring them via trade either.
Bringing In And Developing Pitchers Is A Priority
If you can’t sign big-time pitchers in free agency, bring them in via trade, or develop your own; well, you are in trouble because pitching is the name of the game.
After 2020, they appeared to have a budding ace in Dylan Bundy, as he finished that season with a solid 3.29 ERA in 65.2 innings.
He reverted back to his old ways in 2021, with an ugly 6.06 ERA.
Griffin Canning, another promising arm, has failed to develop into a consistent contributor.
The team’s best pitching prospect, Reid Detmers, had a 7.11 ERA in 19 frames this year.
The Angels need one or two additional impact pitchers to plug in their rotation and find a way to build a solid bullpen.
Can you imagine the Angel outfield with Trout & Adell (& Marsh) in it? Get some pitching & 2022 looks very bright.
— JAB (@JABTheory) August 29, 2021
Only by improving their pitching (they are 23rd in runs allowed in MLB, with 5.0, and 22nd in ERA with a high 4.71) will they have a chance to building a sustainable roster to provide Trout, Ohtani, and the rest of the offense with an opportunity to succeed.
The organization decided to start working on its issues on that front and spent all 20 draft picks this year on pitchers.
Trout and Ohtani may get tired of losing in the not-so-distant future, so the time to start winning is as soon as 2022.
They are running out of excuses, and if they don’t dramatically improve their roster, the Angels risk losing their best players.