Despite owning the world's greatest baseball player in Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels have missed the playoffs in nine of the past 10 years, but it's not for a lack of effort from ownership and management.
Team owner Arte Moreno has allowed the front office to spend big dollars in hopes of restoring the glory days for this former American League juggernaut. But time and time again, Los Angeles has fallen short of expectations.
The Angels took that first step by hiring Joe Maddon as their new manager last week. The latter spent 31 years with Los Angeles, and he was on staff for their 2002 World Series Championship. Maddon quickly turned the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs into MLB powerhouses, so there's good reason to believe he can do it here in L.A.
Now, Moreno is promising to increase the Angels' 2020 payroll, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports, and that means they'll be going after the top free agent on the market.
Owner Arte Moreno of the #Angels says they will increase payroll in 2020.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 24, 2019
Translation: They will be strongly pursuing free agent starter Gerrit Cole this winter. The final price tag should be a minimum of $230 million over 7 years.
According to Cot's Baseball, the Angels had a 2019 opening day payroll of just over $158.878 million, which was slightly lower than the opening day payrolls they had from 2016 to 2018. The opening day payroll has been above $141 million every year since 2011, per Cot's Baseball.
The Angels haven't had a lot of success when it comes to landing expensive free agents. This includes the five-year, $125 million deal they gave to former AL MVP Josh Hamilton in 2012, and the five-year, $77.5 million contract C.J. Wilson received in 2011.
And of course, the 10-year, $240 million contract from Albert Pujols has brought mixed results, though the future Hall of Famer has struggled for the most part in replicating his production from his St. Louis days.
Angels Can't Waste Mike Trout's Prime Any Longer
The Angels managed to ink Trout to a record 12-year deal worth $430 million this offseason. Clearly, the world's greatest baseball player is confident in the ability of ownership and management to build a winner around him.
The Angels lack Grade-A prospects in their farm system, however, so spending money is really the only short-term solution in building a winner around Trout. Moreno simply has no choice but to throw around the big dollars, because the Angels have to stop wasting his prime.