The Angels are wasting talent and time, they need to sign Dexter Fowler to fix their biggest problem
It is time for the Los Angeles Angels to stop playing around. Maybe they need to wake up but the reality is that the team MUST deal with their issue in left field. It’s a problem that has been well documented everywhere, from right here on Today’s Knuckleball to ESPN.com.
Everyone seems to be able to see that this problem is bigger than just having a relatively decent left fielder, and they don’t even have that right now with their current platoon of Craig Gentry and Daniel Nava. It goes further than that. They are literally wasting talent and their window of opportunity to contend for a World Series.
About a month ago I wondered in a column if the Angels were wasting the best years of Mike Trout‘s youth. More recently ESPN.com’s David Schoenfeld asked the same question. Trout is arguably the best player in all of baseball and he will be playing with the Angels through the 2020 season, at which point he will be about to play his age 29 season. Trout will undoubtedly still be in his prime, barring an injury, but he’s better now than he’ll likely ever be again.
In his first four full seasons in the big leagues he’s already finished as the runner up for the American League MVP Award three times. Two of those three times the main reason he was not the winner was because he was not on a contending team. The first of the three times is understandable as Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown in 2012 which is impossible to compete with since it is such a rare accomplishment. Yet his other second place finishes can be blamed on the Angels and Angels’ owner Arte Moreno.
Moreno got himself into big contracts that didn’t work out and he’s created an atmosphere where the general manager isn’t even able to do his job. Tensions between Moreno and former left fielder Josh Hamilton, as well as between former GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia, started the 2015 season off awkwardly for everyone in the organization. Dipoto abruptly left the team when the Angels’ owner sided with Scioscia when it came to using the scouting reports provided by the front office.
Now Moreno refuses to push his payroll over the limit for which he’d have to pay a luxury tax. Most of the teams that go over the limit, such as the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, end up paying a 50% luxury tax or more. However, this would only be the second time in over a decade that Moreno would actually have to pay a luxury tax. Under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) a team starts out paying a lower percentage and the percentage increases each subsequent year that their payroll stays over the threshold, so Moreno’s tax would be relatively low.
There is also the reality that the luxury tax threshold will be increased after this season, as a new CBA is to be negotiated before the 2017 season kicks off. This means that Moreno would likely end up under the new number anyway and be exempt from paying a luxury tax.
So why not go out and get the team a left fielder. It’s not just Trout’s talent that is being wasted here either. It may be the beginning of the end of future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols’ career, but he still hit 40 home runs last season and when healthy can protect Trout in the lineup, making it more likely he’ll get a pitch to hit. If when he gets that pitch there is already a base runner then that is all the better for the team.
There aren’t many players left out on the free agent market. There were some big name outfielders available like Chris Davis, Alex Gordon and Yoenis Cespedes but Moreno and new GM Brian Eppler haven’t even tried to go after them. There is still an outfielder on the free-agent market who could provide all that the Angels need and that is Dexter Fowler.
To read my full column on Today’s Knuckleball and find out exactly why Fowler is the perfect fit for the Angels and why they need to move fast – click on the link below: