Mike Trout is a three-time MVP, Rookie of the Year, eight-time All-Star an arguably the top overall player in the Major Leagues. At 29-years old, he already has 302 home runs, 1380 hits and 201 stolen bases. The one thing missing is a championship and while Trout is still well in his prime, the Angels have made the playoffs only once during Trout’s ten-year career. What can the Angels do to get back into serious contention?
The signing of Anthony Rendon last off-season added a big bat to the lineup, but despite the added offense, the Angels finished below .500. General manager Billy Eppler lost his job and former Braves assistant General Manager Perry Minaisan took over. Now, Minaisan must head out and address the team’s biggest weakness which is clearly pitching after the team posted an abysmal 5.52 ERA last season.
Although the Angels have had little success landing top free agent starting pitchers, they need to take a run at Trevor Bauer. After winning the 2020 NL Cy Young Award, Southern California native Bauer could return home under the right conditions. While his 1.73 ERA was outstanding last season, Bauer has certainly been an inconsistent pitcher, but he’s put together enough good seasons to believe that 2020 wasn’t a blip on the radar.
A question isn’t in Bauer’s ability, it’s whether or not he is compatible for the long haul. After all, Trevor Bauer has had issues everywhere he’s been in terms of his behavior and attitude. Despite the excess baggage, Bauer undoubtedly would significantly bolster the Angels’ staff. The Angels would likely be in a bidding war for Bauer, but they can’t afford not to stay in that battle for the long haul.
With the starting pitching the obvious biggest glaring weakness, Angels need to be all in, not only in terms of trying to land Bauer, but any other free agent pitcher out there. With the fifth worst ERA in the Major Leagues last year, the only direction to move is up. With a potent offense, even improving to the point of being an average pitching staff will put the Angels in the playoffs in 2021 and beyond.