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By Jason Sinner, AngelsWin.com Contributor - 

I keep seeing tons of internet chatter from Angels fans about selling off the teams spare parts to make them better......eventually.

Yet a bad loss tonight and many are still pissed even with little doubt about the outcome of this season. 

On top of that, we traded a 38yo middle relief lefty specialist about to become a FA with half less than half a season left on his somewhat expensive contract (for his ability) and got market value which wasn't much yet we somehow should have parlayed him into a #3 starter for 2016.

It's hard to imagine how many will react when we are left with Trout, Weaver, Wilson, Pujols, Hamilton and a bunch of prospects we traded for when we should have gotten more. 

If people think it's bad now, just imagine losing 90 games a season for who knows how long.  And I phrase it as such to the point that a group of prospects, regardless of fans agreement or disagreement on value are still just prospects and guarantee nothing. 

In addition, if Dipoto is so bad and has lost the trust of the fans, why would we trust him and his crew to set this team up to win in 2017 and beyond. 

Losing sucks no matter what, but being guaranteed to lose sucks even worse. 

I am not saying that there isn't a point where you step back and look to cut your losses. 

Yet from where this team currently sits in terms of payroll and long term contracts, there isn't a 'start fresh' scenario. 

However, Can a team with a 100+mil payroll and a bunch of long term commitments still put a winning product on the field AND slowly rebuild the farm system?  I know it's been done, but does this group have what it takes to be somewhat unusual that way?

I am not sure.

The biggest question you have to ask yourself as a fan of this team is whether you think that Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton can rebound from their poor seasons and provide enough production to help this team win as opposed to being as much of the problem as they are currently.  I am not asking whether we think they will be worth the money they are being paid, but can they provide enough production where it's worth it for the team to continue to try and surround them with players that will aid in the team being a playoff contender.

I, for one, am not ready to write those two off just yet and with that, I don't think the team should sell off all of their spare parts.

I think that certain moves can be made to improve the club for 2014 and some of those move likely involve those currently on the major league roster. 

I also think that the minor league system is headed in the right direction and when the crop of high A players reach AAA, we will have a much different outlook. 

Trading away the right players at the right time will be enough to turn things around.

Am I confident that the team will turn it around in 2014?  Nope, but the alternative of setting the team up to automatically lose 90+ games by selling everyone off seems much less palatable to me than at least attempting to field a competitive squad for the next two years while the two big contract guys actually have a chance at being productive.  

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While this article is well written, the conclusion is one which I cannot agree with simply because the same argument has been made the past few seasons and proven false.

 

The fact of the matter is that the Angels organization is in shambles. From top to bottom, there is little to be proud of or look to hold on to.

 

The Angels are saddled with the Pujols, Wilson, and Hamilton contracts, for good or ill, for the foreseeable future.

 

Trout and Weaver are the only true bright spots in an organization that has made it's home in failure and the Angels should back up the Brinks truck to try to hold on to them for their careers (although I have serious doubts Trout will be around come Free Agency eligibility since he grew up a Yankees fan and they would grab him in a heartbeat).

 

Beyond those 5 names, there is nothing left to look to as good or solid. This includes ownership, the front office, on field management, scouting (from player acquisition to advance scouting for the Major League opposition), to the players themselves.

 

The Angels are far from a few spare parts away from victory. And I would argue that some of those "spare parts" are exactly what are plaguing the Angels.

 

Failure has become systemic throughout this organization. The Angels have needed a complete overhaul for the past 4 years, yet seem satisfied to "fix" the problem by making a 1 or 2 player splash during the off-season.

 

10 years ago, the Angels had just won the World Series on the back of a farm system that was largely considered to be one of the best in all of baseball. Now the Angels are saddled with one of the worst teams in baseball and one of the worst farm systems while simultaneously being one of the highest payroll teams.

 

10 years ago, there were log-jams at various positions because the players at the AAA level could have been starters on at least half the teams in the MLB.

 

Now, the Angels are filling in their holes with cast off's from some of the worst teams in baseball.

 

Here's a hint, when a team is trolling the waiver wire at the end of Spring Training for players to fill in their starting positions or bullpen, the team is in dire straits systemically.

 

The Angels need an overhaul from the ground up, and that means building towards a promise.

 

There once was a time where the Angels were the envy of baseball when it came to producing and picking up pitching and catching. The arms in the Angels farm system could net Major League talent.  And because they had so many of them, they could cast them away at will.

 

But that was then.

 

Now, the Angels don't have anyone in their farm system that is MLB ready, and indeed have some players on their roster that should not even be playing at the Major League level.  These players are not spare parts to be traded, they are un-tradable parts because there's nearly nothing of value to them since every organization already has players of their caliber in their farm system.

 

The only way the Major League Angels could be competitive, not championship caliber mind you, but simply competitive at the Major League level in 2014 is if they exceed $200 just for 2014 alone.

 

This philosophy of saying that they want to "win now" while not addressing the fundimental issues that are plaguing this club is not only short sighted, but inherently self-debilitating.

 

The Angels had their run and now they are paying the price of focusing on the short term instead of the long term.

 

All Major League franchises must find a way to balance the two. Losing sight of either one is to their detriment. 

 

And the Angels can never come right out and say "we are in rebuilding mode" for fear that they will lose interest and viewership of the fans.

 

All teams will win 60 games and lose 60 games throughout the season, it's what happens in the other 42 that make the difference between the best team in baseball and the worst.  There's no guarantee other than that.

 

This team, even with the potential it has, doesn't look like a team that has any interest in those other 42 games.

 

The rabid fan-base can cry and complain, or console and excuse (depending on their personal inclinations) all they want, but it doesn't change the fact that the Angels as an organization are a ship that is listing heavily already while continuing to add more weight.

 

Blow it up, don't blow it up, it doesn't really matter as long as those that are making the decisions for this franchise continue to do things that fundimentally hamstring the organization as a whole.

 

Who is responsible? Let the blame lay where it must, but there is a responsibility that someone has, whomever it is, for the entire franchise being in the position it is in.

 

Add to that the fact that the Dodgers just up the freeway are getting back into their form of old and the owner and management who has become comfortable in stealing fans from up the 15 will find out just how quickly a faltering franchise loses fans back to their roots when given the choice.  People all around Southern California are hanging up their Angels Red and reaching into their closet to pull out the Dodger blue.

 

Win and the fans and money will come. Lose and you will be forced into the "Remember When" category.

 

The Angels just need to figure out a way to maximize their time at the top and how to accomplish that.

 

There should be no player that is immune to being able to be traded for prospects.  Yes, there is a potential that a prospect is only a future possibility with nothing yet proven, yet you deny the fact that what has been proven thusfar is that the player being traded has proven that he is a part of one of the worst Angels teams of all times.

 

It's time to give up the ghost, realize that what the Angels have right now is not working, and understand that the best thing for this franchise is to cut ties with anyone who is willing to trade for them as long as the franchise itself can benefit in the long run.

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Good post, Eric - its a very well done counterpoint to Doc's, and I think proves the point that both sides of the argument have merit. Both are, to some degree, true.

 

I have to point out some of your exaggerations, though, mainly around the strength of the farm system 10 years ago. First of all the Angels Championship was NOT "on the back of" the strong farm system. The farm system didn't get really good until AFTER the championship. Many of the players on that team were homegrown but from a different era - Salmon, Anderson, Erstad, etc. Of the significant contributors to the 2002 team, only John Lackey and Scot Shields were recent graduates of the minor leagues.

 

It is easy to erroneously put the 2002 team and the 2004-09 in the same category, but they are really different teams. The 2002 team was a combination of long-time homegrown players in the latter half of their career and mid-range free agents having good years. The 2004-09 team was the result of a thriving farm and Arte's open pockets.

 

I would also take issue with the alleged greatness of that farm system. Some good players were produced but also lots of disappointments.

 

But to the Doc vs. Eric debate. I think you're both right, but both not completely so. I agree with Doc that with some savvy moves this could become a 90-win team as soon as next year. The offensive nucleus is there; if Vargas is extended they have three plus starters; there are some strong pieces for a bullpen. Remember that the team's record is not in line with their talent; a lot has gone wrong this year, at least some of which could go better next year. Even if Pujols and Hamilton don't recover star status, they should be better than this year.

 

On the other hand, I agree with you, Eric, that the organization as a whole has serious problems. The roster is weighted down by a couple over-priced free agent has-beens (I think you overstate the case about Wilson - he's actually close to worth his contract and a nice pitcher to have in your #2-3 slots). The farm system is the worst its been since the 20th century. Etc.

 

But the thing is, Eric, even then there's the beginning light of dawn - there are a handful of promising prospects through the farm, especially at the lower levels. Its moving in the right direction.

 

So what's the middle ground? How do you take the best of what Doc says and try to stay competitive next year, while doing some "deep cleaning?" Its sort of like trying to have a dinner party while renovating your house. Is it possible? I think so. Start by getting rid of spare parts, players that are leaving anyway - like Downs. Then dangle some of the players that are replaceable but have substantial value, like Aybar, Kendrick, Trumbo, and Callaspo. Then see what you have with the question marks on the team - namely, Richards, Hanson, and Calhoun in particular.

 

There's a lot to work with here. Remember, we're just a few months past being favorites to be in the World Series. Think about that. Its the same team, just a lot of things went wrong - most things, really. But there's still a lot of pieces to work with. The dinner party might not be perfect, and will take work to pull off, but it can still happen even as the renovations are underway.

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While this article is well written, the conclusion is one which I cannot agree with simply because the same argument has been made the past few seasons and proven false.

The fact of the matter is that the Angels organization is in shambles. From top to bottom, there is little to be proud of or look to hold on to.

The Angels are saddled with the Pujols, Wilson, and Hamilton contracts, for good or ill, for the foreseeable future.

Trout and Weaver are the only true bright spots in an organization that has made it's home in failure and the Angels should back up the Brinks truck to try to hold on to them for their careers (although I have serious doubts Trout will be around come Free Agency eligibility since he grew up a Yankees fan and they would grab him in a heartbeat).

Beyond those 5 names, there is nothing left to look to as good or solid. This includes ownership, the front office, on field management, scouting (from player acquisition to advance scouting for the Major League opposition), to the players themselves.

The Angels are far from a few spare parts away from victory. And I would argue that some of those "spare parts" are exactly what are plaguing the Angels.

Failure has become systemic throughout this organization. The Angels have needed a complete overhaul for the past 4 years, yet seem satisfied to "fix" the problem by making a 1 or 2 player splash during the off-season.

10 years ago, the Angels had just won the World Series on the back of a farm system that was largely considered to be one of the best in all of baseball. Now the Angels are saddled with one of the worst teams in baseball and one of the worst farm systems while simultaneously being one of the highest payroll teams.

10 years ago, there were log-jams at various positions because the players at the AAA level could have been starters on at least half the teams in the MLB.

Now, the Angels are filling in their holes with cast off's from some of the worst teams in baseball.

Here's a hint, when a team is trolling the waiver wire at the end of Spring Training for players to fill in their starting positions or bullpen, the team is in dire straits systemically.

The Angels need an overhaul from the ground up, and that means building towards a promise.

There once was a time where the Angels were the envy of baseball when it came to producing and picking up pitching and catching. The arms in the Angels farm system could net Major League talent. And because they had so many of them, they could cast them away at will.

But that was then.

Now, the Angels don't have anyone in their farm system that is MLB ready, and indeed have some players on their roster that should not even be playing at the Major League level. These players are not spare parts to be traded, they are un-tradable parts because there's nearly nothing of value to them since every organization already has players of their caliber in their farm system.

The only way the Major League Angels could be competitive, not championship caliber mind you, but simply competitive at the Major League level in 2014 is if they exceed $200 just for 2014 alone.

This philosophy of saying that they want to "win now" while not addressing the fundimental issues that are plaguing this club is not only short sighted, but inherently self-debilitating.

The Angels had their run and now they are paying the price of focusing on the short term instead of the long term.

All Major League franchises must find a way to balance the two. Losing sight of either one is to their detriment.

And the Angels can never come right out and say "we are in rebuilding mode" for fear that they will lose interest and viewership of the fans.

All teams will win 60 games and lose 60 games throughout the season, it's what happens in the other 42 that make the difference between the best team in baseball and the worst. There's no guarantee other than that.

This team, even with the potential it has, doesn't look like a team that has any interest in those other 42 games.

The rabid fan-base can cry and complain, or console and excuse (depending on their personal inclinations) all they want, but it doesn't change the fact that the Angels as an organization are a ship that is listing heavily already while continuing to add more weight.

Blow it up, don't blow it up, it doesn't really matter as long as those that are making the decisions for this franchise continue to do things that fundimentally hamstring the organization as a whole.

Who is responsible? Let the blame lay where it must, but there is a responsibility that someone has, whomever it is, for the entire franchise being in the position it is in.

Add to that the fact that the Dodgers just up the freeway are getting back into their form of old and the owner and management who has become comfortable in stealing fans from up the 15 will find out just how quickly a faltering franchise loses fans back to their roots when given the choice. People all around Southern California are hanging up their Angels Red and reaching into their closet to pull out the Dodger blue.

Win and the fans and money will come. Lose and you will be forced into the "Remember When" category.

The Angels just need to figure out a way to maximize their time at the top and how to accomplish that.

There should be no player that is immune to being able to be traded for prospects. Yes, there is a potential that a prospect is only a future possibility with nothing yet proven, yet you deny the fact that what has been proven thusfar is that the player being traded has proven that he is a part of one of the worst Angels teams of all times.

It's time to give up the ghost, realize that what the Angels have right now is not working, and understand that the best thing for this franchise is to cut ties with anyone who is willing to trade for them as long as the franchise itself can benefit in the long run.

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