By Jason Sinner, AngelsWin.com Feature Writer -
Lesson learned. I hope.
This is not about speculating who's to blame for a failed attempt at using the free agent market to create a window of opportunity, but it's fairly clear now that the philosophy has changed and that the goal is to build a sustainable winner for years to come.
At the end of the 2013 season, if you had tried to convince me that this was possible I would have been very skeptical about whether that could be accomplished. We had a terrific offense, almost no bullpen, two aging starters, and one solid, young rotation candidate. One. In the entire org.
The 2012 and 2013 off seasons saw the Halos commit nearly half a billion dollars in guaranteed salaries to players over the age of 30.
So they made a run at it and it didn't work. Usually when most high payroll teams do this, they go the way of the Phillies where they fight the inevitable for a year or two and then trade off as much as they can to get back to winning in a few years.
But the Angels were (possibly) able to circumvent that to some degree. They tried to build a nice little window with a partial ocean view that was immediately obstructed by their neighbors 3 story condo complex. Yet in the basement behind the Christmas ornaments and next to that box of crap that smells like old cheese and standing water was a portal into another dimension. A space-time continuum bridging New Jersey to Anaheim. And from this wormhole emerged a savior who rescued the franchise from certain annihilation.
When that happens, you don't clog the wormhole with millions of dollars to 30+ year old players, but you do everything you can to keep it wide open for as long as possible. And to do that, you need the key master to build his protective army of left-handed pitchers.
Mike Trout saved this franchise from a period of darkness. One that we have seen before, but the second component to that is the power that be recognizing that a new opportunity has been created and it's needs to be exploited for as long as possible. Having the best player in baseball on your team for the next 7 years means that you adopt a philosophy to accommodate that. It's a bit of a chicken/egg discussion, but in the end, you do what you can to expand your window for as long as you have the best player in baseball.