After a disappointing second-place finish in 2011, the Los Angeles Angels decided to become New York Yankees West and attempted to buy their way back into the playoffs.
The result? A modest three-win improvement that resulted in finishing in third place in the AL West rather than second, and a second consecutive season without October baseball.
The returns were even worse, as Hamilton was an unmitigated disaster and Blanton was among the worst pitchers in baseball. Madson never even threw a pitch for the organization as the Angels finished third again. But this time they finished below .500 at 78-84.
Two winters of spending over $450 million in future commitments — during the same two years that Trout emerged as one of baseball’s best player — and the team managed back-to-back third-place finishes.
For the first month of 2014, it’s just more of the same, as LA stands 13-13 — following Tuesday’s 6-4 win over Cleveland — with a game to go in April. Except this year, it might actually be different. This Angels team is actually showing signs of being pretty good.
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