COMMENTARY | On Monday, October 1, Mike Trout went 4 for 5 and drove in three runs in the Los Angeles Angels' 8-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners. Unfortunately, Trout's efforts weren't enough to save to the Halos' season. The team was eliminated when the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 on the same night.
I'm not sure what Angels owner Arturo Moreno is thinking right now. His franchise isn't struggling like the long-suffering Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals. The Angels are almost always in contention, and they are supported by one of the league's most passionate fan bases. There are a lot of things to be proud of if you're Moreno.
However, the Angels are missing the postseason for the third straight season, despite fielding the fourth most expensive team in Major League Baseball. The team signed first baseman Albert Pujols to a massive 10-year, $240 million contract and left-handed pitcher C.J. Wilson to a five-year, $77.5 million deal. It has to be frustrating for Moreno to miss the postseason with all of the money he's invested in his club.
I have to wonder who is going to be held responsible for the Angels' failure to reach the playoffs. General Manager Jerry DiPoto spent much of the 2011 offseason fixing the mistakes made his predecessor Tony Reagins. However, the team was still held back by a disappointing bullpen and an underachieving starting rotation. Of course, it didn't help that the Angels were unable to rid themselves of Vernon Wells' awful contract or to find a suitable third baseman.
Yet despite those weaknesses, there's a ridiculous amount of talent on the roster. There is no excuse for this team to miss the playoffs. We're talking about a team that fields a lineup with players like Pujols, Trout, Mark Trumbo, and Torii Hunter. Oh, and let's not forget a starting rotation with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Wilson. A roster filled with this kind of talent should have won close to 100 games this season.
At this point, I think it's fair to question whether or not bringing back manager Mike Scioscia in 2013 is a good idea. Scioscia is an excellent manager; there's no doubt in my mind that he's one of the best in all of baseball. But Scioscia has also been in charge of the Angels for 12 years. There comes a point when a manager begins to lose his players, and I wonder if that's what has happened with him.
Scioscia's staff has been under fire all season. The team fired long-time hitting instructor Mickey Hatcher last May when the Halos opened the season in a nearly two-month long offensive slump. Scioscia's pitching coach, Mike Butcher, also got a lot of heat during the summer when the Angels' pitching staff saw its monthly ERA jump from 2.99 in May to 6.76 on August 21. Butcher is going to survive the season, but it's clear that his staff underachieved this season.
Hatcher and Butcher's struggles are a major reason why I'm questioning the team's decision to bring Scioscia back next season. Both coaches are a reflection of the manager, and if they lost the players' attention, then I think it's possible that Scioscia did as well. I believe the Angels should reconsider bringing him back next season. Then again, if Scioscia was let go, the question would become who should replace him.
Regardless of what the Angels do with Scioscia, the team has a lot of decisions to make this offseason. Will the Halos be able to rid themselves of Vernon Wells and his overpriced contract? What will the team do with its free agent starting pitchers? I'm not sure what the answers to these questions are, but one thing is certain: it's going to be an interesting offseason for the underachieving Angels.
Derek Ciapala has been following the Angels since childhood. He has been published on Yahoo! Sports, GatewayMMA.com and multiple other websites. You can check him out on Facebook or Twitter @dciapala.
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