Being champions of the winter has not panned out well for recent teams like the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies or Seattle Mariners, who made big offseason acquisitions only to fall flat when the games started.
Add the Los Angeles Angels to that list.
Despite spending $320 million in the biggest one-day free agent splurge in baseball history, then adding a former Cy Young Award winner in midseason, the Angels were officially eliminated from playoff contention Monday night. While they beat the Mariners 8-4 in Seattle, the Oakland A's beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 to clinch the final AL playoff spot.
"It just proves -- forget about expectations, excitement all that," Angels veteran outfielder Torii Hunter said. "No matter what you do, no matter who you acquire, you have to get it done on the field. Expectations are expectations -- it hasn't happened yet.
"Just like everybody else, I had expectations (of contending for a championship). We just didn't get it done on the field where it counts."
The Angels were done in by an 8-15 start in April and a six-week stretch around the All-Star break when their rotation went into a slump. They finished strong, winning 27 of 38 games since Aug. 21, the best record in baseball during that time.
"The season is 162 games," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "You can't really chop up the good parts and the bad parts and say, 'Hey, we could have played at this pace or that pace.' We set ourselves back early in the year and never quite got back into a position we wanted to be. We paid a price for it."