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Sheehan: The Angels Have The Most On The Line In 2020


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I’m having a hard time identifying a 2020 sleeper. This winter saw the middle tier of baseball teams, the teams that had largely sat out recent winters, get aggressive. The Rangers traded for Corey Kluber. The Angels signed Anthony Rendon. The Diamondbacks added Madison Bumgarner and Starling Marte. The Reds spent for Mike Moustakas and Nick Castellanos. You can’t be a sleeper if you spent the offseason drawing attention to yourself.

So let’s look for something else: the team with the most riding on the 2020 campaign. There are the usual suspects, of course: The Yankees committed $324 million to the idea that Gerrit Cole was the difference between getting past the Astros and not. The Dodgers have seven straight National League West titles but no World Series ring, spoiling their claim to the word "dynasty.” The White Sox have invested a lot of money this winter to turn their rebuilding project into a playoff berth. You could pick any of these, as well as the scandal-ridden Astros, the stagnant Cubs, or the talent-laden Padres.

Me, I don’t think it’s any of them. The team with the most on the line this year is the Angels. This will be Mike Trout’s ninth full season, and he has played in just three playoff games, all losses to the Royals in 2014. Trout, now 28, has seen his front office make horrible free agent choices both big (Josh HamiltonAlbert Pujols) and small (Matt HarveyCody Allen). He’s watched a farm system that was very productive up to the point he graduated from it go fallow at the wrong time. He’s watched it all go backward, with four straight sub-.500 seasons dating back to 2016. Forget October; Trout hasn’t even played a meaningful game in September since 2015.

Full Article: https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/sheehan-the-angels-have-the-most-on-the-line-in-2020/


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There's some truth to it. On one hand, for those of us who are long-time fans, yet another .500ish season is the norm. Yet considering the breakthrough golden era of the 2000s, the fact that they have the best player in the world, and that they really are a solid big market team (if second tier) with a payroll consistently higher than 70% or more of major league teams, there is an underlying expecation to return to competitiveness.

But our situation really isn't unlike the Mets, who have played second fiddle (or ugly stepchild) to the Yankees for decades. Expecations are similar, at least in the abstract.

And of course Billy Eppler has a lot at stake. His first few years were understandable considering the mess he inherited and the wreckage that was the pitching staff. But last year was his first real chance to not only repair damage, but take the team forward. It didn't work. He's got another chance, and while I personally will be happy enough with progress in the form of continued farm development and and a competitive team deeper into the year, Arte's leash may be a bit shorter.

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2 hours ago, RBM said:

My first thought was I like how this guy writes. Who is he? So I googled Joe Sheehan and read some of his other stuff and he is legit. I like the journalistic angle he takes to the heart of the matter. His December 2019 article discussing the three biggest challenges for baseball in the 2020's was prophetic - attached below. They were (1) put more baseball back into the game (2) make the game more competitive and (3) how baseball can balance it's history with the new gambling landscape. 

 The Astros cheating scandal came out the same month so I think Joe Sheehan's third point would now include real time e-cheating. I think MLB needs to handle real time e-cheating the same way they currently deal with gambling - discuss it with every player each year, apply zero tolerance and a ban for life.

My second thought was of course the Angels have the most on the line in 2020. For all of Sheehan's reasons and more. Then I realized I've felt the same way every February since I can remember following my favorite team. Having the most on the line is relative from the perspective of a fan.



Although I disagree with his conclusion that the Angels have the most to lose,  I don't hold it against a writer for throwing the idea out there.   If a different slant on things helps people think about and/or discuss an issue, then it's all good.

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