Mike Trout has arguably been the best player in baseball since his debut in 2011. Despite that, his team has made the playoffs just once and have never won a playoff game. That’s right, the games most dominant offensive player has not won a single playoff game in his first five years in the league. Now you can sit there and try to analyze why this has happened and why he hasn’t done more or had a bigger impact to avoid this fate but the fact of the matter is this, the rest of the Angels team is down right bad.
The Los Angeles Angels used to be a model of consistency. They made the playoffs six times from 2002-2009 including winning the world series in 2002. They have not won a playoff game since 2009 despite having the most talented all around player in the game on their team. Sports are funny in the sense that when you have a great player on your team, you are expected to win. However, baseball is a different game. So much depends on individual success. It takes 25 guys to win a championship but each one of those players has their own job that they have to do to be successful as a team. Baseball isn’t like basketball or football where one great player can put his teammates in a position to be successful. When a hitter is at the plate, it’s just him and the pitcher and vice versa. It’s the ultimate “mano y mano.” That being said, you need each player to elevate their own game and take care of business. The problem with the Angels is that the other 24 guys other than Trout just aren’t very good.
The Angels in the past have had a history of spending in free agency and bringing in talent as well as developing their own talent in their farm system. For one reason or another, they have gotten away from that. They spent big money on free agents like Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and pitcher C.J. Wilson but none of those transactions really panned out the way they wanted them to. Maybe that has given them cold feet when dipping into the free agency pool every summer since. However, with Mike Trout just 24 years of age, they have time to right the ship. The problem is, they don’t seem to be taking any steps toward doing so. They haven’t been stock piling their farm system with prospects. They haven’t invested money in free agents to surround Trout in that abysmal Angels lineup and their pitching staff has a lot of room for improvement.
Mike Trout may be young and they may have locked him up to a long term contract. However, when that contract is up, Trout will still be just 29 years of age. Don’t think for one second that he won’t take into consideration these years of sub-par play that are wasting away. If the Angels don’t do something in the next few years to avoid being a bottom dweller in the American League West, Mike Trout may be gone before they know it. It’s not often that a generational talent graces our presence and when a team was able to bring that player up from a young age and watch him grow, it normally benefits them in the long run to build around that player and turn their team into perennial contenders. The Angels have done none of that and are wasting the greatness of Mike Trout each and every year that they fail to make the playoffs. Time will tell what the Angels do to right the ship but five years is not that long and the clock is ticking. They better start making improvements before Mike Trout becomes a thing of the past in L.A.
Image from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/12/mike-trout-ped-users-out-of-game_n_3744358.html