The Los Angeles Angels. The only team where the only person who's been busted for performance enhancing drugs is the manager, and he ain't helping nobody.
One of my usual laments about the Angels, which carries over to this year, is that they have enough depth 'break glass in case of injury' people that are MEANT to be depth pieces and not play many major roles, and they've been the same for the last few years- Luis Rengifo in the infield, Taylor Ward in the outfield and Jose Suarez in the rotation. These are three players who are meant as reinforcements, as every year the Angels pack their team with so many sure bets and key players to ensure that they don't need to use these players.
And every year they've had to use them. And this year, all three of them are among the highest earning players on the team. This is not how you're supposed to use depth pieces, Angels. You're supposed to use them for DEPTH.
The Angels have Anthony Rendon, David Fletcher and Matt Duffy on their payroll and they've played 134 games altogether. They signed Jonathan Villar and Tyler Wade for infield depth and neither of them delivered. Any of those players could have either stayed healthy or delivered a key season, and none of them did. Not to completely discredit Luis Rengifo, who's having a great season, but...Rengifo to me has always felt like the last resort, and he's started more games at 2nd than Fletcher. Hell, I don't think the Angels went in with the idea that Andrew Velaszquez would be their starting shortstop. They are 100% working on the fly.
As for Suarez, who has replaced Jaime Barria as the 'well all our starters are injured, let's bring in the next best option' guy for the Angels, is 4-5 in 13 starts. He's certainly not bad, but the Angels went out and got Michael Lorenzen and Noah Syndergaard so they wouldn't have to bank on him, then Lorenzen got hurt and Syndergaard got traded, so...here we are again. Not only is Suarez starting games for the Angels, but other last resort options like Touki Toussaint and Tucker Davidson, in from Atlanta, are picking up starts with middling results. The top four of Ohtani-Sandoval-Detmers-Suarez is decent, but they are very quickly running out of fifth man options.
All I'm saying is it's a good thing that Taylor Ward graduated from last resort to trusted starter this year, because if not it would have been more monotonous failure for these guys.
I want somebody on the Angels to do something to make people believe that 2023 isn't gonna be another year of the same exact thing happening. I want them to move the pieces to sustain momentum and not crap out by June. I want them to learn from this, because this is the worst one of these uneventful years they've had yet, and it's damning.
Coming Tomorrow- A starting catcher for a team that, at the very least is still full of surprises.