So last offseason, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (you’ll forgive me if I still refer to them as the Anaheim Angels since that’s where they play and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is a completely stupid name) signed SP C.J. Wilson away from the division rival Texas Rangers and made the biggest splash/shock in recent memory when they swooped in and signed arguably the best player in the game (at that time) in 1B Albert Pujols. This year, they swooped in again and shockingly signed OF Josh Hamilton. More about this after the jump.
Josh Hamilton (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Pujols was signed to a 10yr/$250 mil deal, while both Wilson and Hamilton were given 5 year deals. They also have several young players on their team in Mike Trout, Jered Weaver and Mark Trumbo. So when the Hamilton signing became official earlier this morning, I heard more of the same from some Astros fans: whining. To be honest, I’m not sure why. I’m glad Hamilton left our real rival, the Texas Rangers. Now did I want him to sign with an already stacked team in our same division? No, but weakening the Rangers is fine with me. Plus, why are Astros fans worried about the Angels right now? Does anyone really expect us to go out there and be a .500 team, let alone compete for a division title and playoff berth? Realistically, it’s going to be three years before the Astros are competing again and that includes this year. By that time, we still won’t know how old Albert Pujols really is and signing big name Free Agents doesn’t always include sustained success. The Angels didn’t even make the playoffs this season while a team that did relatively nothing, the Oakland A’s, did.
Mike Trout will not be traded, but, at least one of Kendrys Morales, Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos will be. There just aren’t enough spots in the everyday lineup to accommodate all of these players and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Astros make a play for one of them. Those three aforementioned players are all young while the guys the Angels are signing are older. By the time the Astros have gotten back to respectability, these big name guys the Angels have signed will be past their prime and nearing the end while the Angels are stuck in salary cap hell due to the large money they doled out on these players. The Angels also have one of the worst farm systems in baseball and a starting pitching staff that is certainly lacking. My opinion is that the Angels signings of Pujols and Hamilton to big money deals comes at the perfect time for the Astros. We aren’t going to compete nor were we expected to compete so whether or not the Angels had signed them, they were still going to finish ahead of us in the standings. In a few years, Jonathan Singleton, George Springer, Delino DeShields Jr., and Jarred Cosart, just to name a few, will all be at the major league level, forming the nucleus of our team for the next decade.
Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow are doing it the right way. Drafting and developing players in house and then paying them when they produce and are heading for Free Agency. Look at where our other team, the Houston Texans, are by following that same blueprint. I’ve seen some Astros fans chastise and complain that we aren’t signing anyone. Please, stop it. You’re embarrassing yourself. What good would it do to sign John Lannan or Mike Napoli and add them to a 100 loss team without enough players around them? We’d go from 100 losses to maybe 95?
Now is not the time to be worried about divisional teams as we enter the AL West. It’ll be a few years before we are competing. So for those of you who are up in arms over the Angels and saying the Astros will never make the playoffs again or Jeff Luhnow is an idiot, calm down, take a deep breath and relax.