The 2012 season was one that brought great expectations to the city of Anaheim, but despite the presence of many high-priced veterans and the arrival of the next big thing, the Angels couldn’t manage better than a third-place finish in the AL West. Jason Evans, Editor at Halo Hangout, brings us the look back at the highs and lows in the Big A this year.
Author: Jason Evans
The 2012 Los Angeles Angels came into the season with World Series aspirations and champagne bottle popping dreams. When you sign two of the biggest free agents of the off-season in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson with a brand spanking new television deal giving the team more revenue this wasn’t all that off base. In actuality, the Angels finished a couple of games short of their goal of making the playoffs.
The Angels came into the season with some questions. Is Kendrys Morales healthy and can he make it a full season after missing almost two years after a broken leg? Who’s the closer going to be? Where does Mark Trumbo fit? How awesome is the rotation going to be?
Well the start wasn’t exactly the best. The Angels were 6-14 on April 27 and after their walk off loss released Bobby Abreu and called up Mike Trout. The Angels took off after that. It took them a month but they finally crawled over .500. Mike Trout came up and did things on a baseball field that few of us had ever seen before. Whether you think he’s the MVP or not, he was the first person to have 30 home runs, over 40 steals and over 120 runs in the same season. Of course Trout wasn’t the only factor. It took Pujols a month to hit a home run, but he finished at .285 with 30 homers and 105 RBI.
Part of their problem early on was Mark Trumbo at third and Vernon Wells in the outfield. Trumbo looked uncomfortable and Wells was ineffective. When Wells injured his thumb, they had the ability to move Trumbo to the outfield and put Alberto Callaspo at third who is better defensively. Kendrys Morales proved he could stay healthy for a season and hit 22 homeruns as the team’s main left handed source of power.
The pitching rotation on the other hand was shaky. Jered Weaver proved why he’s a top five pitcher in the major leagues, winning 20 for the first time in his career and pitching a no-hitter. He went 10-1 in the first half with a ridiculous 1.96 ERA. Everyone else had trouble. C.J. Wilson was very inconsistent and is getting off-season elbow surgery to remove some bone chips. Dan Haren had a back issue that hampered him. Ervin Santana was also inconsistent. The Angels needed to make a move and did so acquiring Zack Greinke. Greinke went 6-2 and looked very comfortable down the stretch. The bullpen started shaky then improved with the acquisiton of Ernesto Frieri who didn’t give up a run for two months and then struggled the rest of the way.
Looking towards 2013 there are plenty of things to like. Mike Trout for a full season is one of them. Albert Pujols will probably have a similar if not better season than 2012, but also be more comfortable in his second year. Weaver and a healthy Wilson can be a strong 1-2 combo at the top of the rotation.
For all the good things, there are question marks. Haren and Santana’s options are going to be declined and Greinke is going to be a free agent. The Rangers will go hard after Greinke and the Angels can’t afford to lose him. If they don’t they are going to have to fill holes via trade because the free agent market appears to be pretty shallow. The bullpen needs some overhauling. They need a lefty to go with Scott Downs. Jason Isringhausen will probably retire and LaTroy Hawkins may or may not be brought back. They have to decide whether or not Frieri will be the closer moving forward of they have to go and get one.
There are questions in management too. It appears that there is some disconnect between GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia. Arte Moreno came out and said both would be back next year, however if the Angels stumble out of the gate like last year could it cost Scioscia his spot?
The hitting has some questions too. Torii Hunter is a free agent. As I talked about in a post on halohangout, Hunter’s good numbers in 2012 were deceiving so will he be brought back? Who’s the real Mark Trumbo. Is it the guy who had a monster first half, or the guy who only hit .227 in the second half? I think they could use an upgrade at third from Alberto Callaspo, would it be Kaleb Cowart or someone from outside the organization?
The Angels have all the components to win in 2013. They almost made the playoffs in 2012 and the team may be a few tweaks away from winning the whole thing. I fully expect the Angels to be a contender in 2013, however, work needs to be done in order for that to happen and certain players will need to step up to the challenge. If the right things are done, it could be a very fun summer in SoCal.
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