The mystery team has struck again, seemingly out of nowhere the Los Angeles Angels skipped all the courting and schmoozing and scooped up the Josh Hamilton for the next 5 years and a cool $125 million. I’m not normally one to toot my own horn, but I saw this coming months ago. I thought Zack Greinke and company would be gone from their rotation, and faced with a severely downgraded pitching staff the Angels would panic and throw money at Hamilton and he’d take it. That’s exactly what just happened.
The circumstances of the deal are still a bit fuzzy as to just when the Angels jumped into the mix, but they came in strong and Hamilton simply could not refuse. This changes the dynamics of the AL West quite a bit, the Texas Rangers are now left to scrape together enough offense to replace Hamilton, Mike Napoli, and Michael Young. They may struggle a bit in 2013 after these losses.
The Angels on the other hand are attempting a strategy that is fairly similar to what the Rangers did early in the 2000′s, all offense and very little pitching. Quite frankly it didn’t work, and I have serious doubts as to whether this could work either. The Angels will undoubtedly score runs next season, assuming of course Mike Trout doesn’t have a sophomore slump, and Albert Pujols shows some signs of his former self. But this move really does not strike fear in this A’s fans heart.
We’ve seen this all too many times, a team goes crazy and spends wildly expecting it to automatically propel them into the postseason, only to have this collection of stars fail to gel and wallow in mediocrity. That’s what made the A’s different, they were and are the exact opposite of that. A true team like the A’s oftentimes can have much greater success working as a unit, and that’s what the expectation is going forward.
I don’t expect the A’s to be able to cruise to another division title, but the path to the playoffs seems much less bumpy than the one they took in 2012. With the Rangers possibly fading out of the picture to some degree, and the Angels putting on a rather pricy bandage to cover their problems, and the Mariners and Astros still trying to rebuild themselves, the A’s should be widely considered the favorite to win the division. The name value of the move the Angels have made though might just be enough to sway the experts in their favor, and that’s just the way we like it. The A’s flew under the radar for most of 2012, and they might get the chance to do the same in 2013 and shock everyone once again.