The Los Angeles Angels had another disappointing season as they finished 78-84 and failed to make the postseason with high expectations. Outside Pitch Sports Network checked in with Angels’ beat reporter for MLB.com Alden Gonzalez to talk about the team’s disappointing season and what could be on tap for the future in our latest “5 questions & 5 Answers” segment.
1. Expectations were high with the Angels at the beginning of the season. It was another year of disappointment. What was most frustrating to watch from this club in ’13?
By far, it was the pitching. Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson simply could not hack it in the AL, Jered Weaver and Jason Vargas missed a combined 18 or so starts due to fluky injuries and they had no depth behind them. Early on, they were getting shelled and the bullpen basically had to pick up four to five innings a night. It was tough to watch.
2. Many thought the hiring of GM Jerry Dipoto would mean success for the Angels. He has brought in high-priced free-agents the last couple years which haven’t amounted to success. Should he be on the hot seat? Should the Angels consider replacing Mike Scioscia as the manager?
Guess I’m a little late on this, since they were both brought back. But I was always of the belief (and I wrote about it in a blog entry towards the end of the season) that the best thing for the Angels would be to bring back both Dipoto and Scioscia. I think individually they’re both very good at their jobs. They see the game differently, and they’ve bumped heads over this, but if they can come together, it can be a very good pairing. What’s hurt the Angels the most is spending so much money on Pujols and Hamilton, who have yet to provide what they expected. That doesn’t lie on Dipoto or Scioscia.
3. The Angels rotation failed to put up numbers it did in the past (4.23 ERA in ’13 ranked 11th in AL). Is there a starter they could acquire via the trade market or free-agency in the offseason that could fit in 2014?
They’re going to spend most of the offseason looking into this. It’s more likely that they trade for starting pitching help, since they don’t have much payroll flexibility, and they’re willing to give up offensive pieces for it. Dipoto wants cost-controlled starting pitching (everyone does), but that’s obviously hard to come by.
4.Albert Pujols’ foot injury plagued him the entire season. He is owed $23 million in ’14. Do you believe he can return to the vintage Pujols we saw with the St. Louis Cardinals?
I expect Pujols to have a very good 2014 season. He’ll be healthy and motivated, and I think he has a lot more left in the tank than people think. Will he be worth the $240 million deal at the end? Of course not. But nobody would be. I think that if he can get healthy, he’ll hit for a long time, because he’s never been a high-strikeout guy. Of course, though, that’s still a big “if.”
5. Mike Trout is arguably one of the best players in the game today. Yankees’ second baseman Robinson Cano believes he’s a $300-million player. Could Trout be the first to eclipse that money plateau?
I don’t know if he’ll be the FIRST, because he’s still four years away from free agency and these contracts get more absurd every year. But I expect him to get there at some point, yes.
Andrew Vigliotti is the co-founder for Outside Pitch Sports Network and outsidepitchmlb.com and can be followed on Twitter @Andrew_Vig