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How do you fix the Los Angeles Angels and their continued downward trajectory?




By Jonathan Northrop, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer

So in response to this thread by an AngelsWin.com member, I thought I'd take a stab at how to fix the Angels. 

Even the best franchises go through cycles, down periods. The smart ones can minimize the length of the down periods, so they spend, say, 6-8 years contending, then 2-3 years rebuilding...or whatever, the point being that they're more "up" than "down."

Dumb franchises, like the Angels, fight against the cycle - when the team starts trending downward, they try to fix things with free agency. What usually happens, well, the Angels from 2010-24+ is a particularly bad example. They dead-cat bounced for a few years until 2015, but it was stalling the inevitable. You can keep a good team afloat indefinitely if you spend a lot and/or wisely, but while Angels spent a good amount, they didn't do so wisely.

How to fix the problem? I would say the key factors are:

  • Stop spending money - at least within reason, and on huge, multi-year contracts. As a general rule, successful franchises avoid such contracts; they tend to use free agency as augmentation to an already good (largely home-grown) team. Even for the elite free agents, as a general rule it is best to only sign them to make a good team better, not to make a bad team good. The good news is that the Angels seem to be finally getting this.
  • Invest in the farm - how many times do we have to say this? Obviously Arte isn't listening to us, but a healthy farm system is a huge factor in future success, and this means more money into scouting and development, which includes taking care of your minor leaguers. 
  • Be patient - this is really part of both of the above, but deserves its own mention. We live in a quick-fix culture, which leads to all sorts of problems. People balk at the idea that it will take 5+ years to fix the franchise, but that's really not an unrealistic estimate. The team could get better sooner than that--if the current young players and prospects turn out better than we should probably realistically expect--and/or they have some luck with trades and drafting, but the point being, it takes a long time to rebuild from where the franchise is at: bad team, barren farm.
  • Emphasize long-term over short-term - Again, part of the above but worth mentioning on its own. Let's say the Angels have a strong second half and/or have a better season next year, playing around .500. Choices should still be made in terms of long-term health. If the Angels go 79-83 next year (or whatever), don't start thinking "We're just a couple big splashes away from contending!" All choices should be made with the long-term in mind, which basically means no big splashes until the team shows a consistent trend of improvement. Meaning, if they go 79-83 next year, and 84-78 next year, then you start thinking about a big splash or two because you're at the point of being able to make a solid team better. The other side of this is being willing to sacrifice the near-term for the future. That means trading away and all players that you can this July, if they're not likely to be part of the team in 2026 and beyond. 

I'm sure there's more, but those are the key factors as I see them today. 

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All good points to which I add communicate with the fan base, if there is going to be a long term plan the fans need to be on board

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