In the battle for Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim drew the line in the sand last winter by adding both Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson to their already-formidable lineup.
Angels fans were feeling pretty damn good about their team. They were donned the American League champions before ever taking a step onto the diamond.
Then again, so were the 2011 Boston Red Sox. Look how that turned out.
According to Cool Standings, the Angels have a 12.4 percent chance of making the playoffs this season. Broken down, they have a 0.8 percent chance of winning the West and a 11.6 percent chance of grabbing one of the two wild-card slots.
For a team that started the season with a $154 million payroll, fourth in all of baseball, that would seem unacceptable.
Come the trade season, the Angels went and boosted their already-impressive pitching rotation by adding former AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke, essentially giving the team four aces.
The problem is, despite that rotation, as good as Los Angeles' pitching staff should be, it ranks only 22nd in all of baseball with its 4.23 team ERA. Angels pitchers rank 19th overall with their 1.31 combined WHIP.
The starters: Jered Weaver, Wilson, Dan Haren, Greinke and Ervin Santana own a 4.44 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.
Clearly what should be the strength of the team has become its weakness.
The blame certainly cannot fall on rookie phenom Mike Trout, who is vying for not only the American League Rookie of the Year Award but also the AL MVP.
The offense has the third-highest batting average in baseball, with a .273 BA. The team's 617 runs scored is fifth in MLB.
The fact of the matter is that team pitching may very well cost Mike Scioscia his job.
He has been at the helm of the Halos since 2000 and has a World Series victory under his belt. His 13 seasons have been quite successful in Anaheim, where he's posted a 1134-940 record, good for a .547 winning percentage. He has had five first-place finishes in his tenure, as well.
However, all things must come to an end. This may be the dinner bell for Scioscia.
Should that be the case, the Angels should look long and hard at bringing in Terry Francona as their next manager.
As a manager for the Phillies from 1997-2000, he was subpar, finishing with a 285-363 record, for a .440 winning percentage.
Everything changed, however, upon his arrival in Boston in 2004.
With the Red Sox, Francona went 744-552, good for a .574 winning percentage. He won two pennants and two World Series titles while finishing first in the division only once, in 2007.
For his managerial career, he owns a 1029-915 record, which equates to a .529 winning percentage. He has had to deal with some pretty high-profile (read: difficult) players in his day, everyone from Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett to David Ortiz.
Talent would not scare Francona.
His demeanor and way of managing players would be perfect fits for the Halos, possibly just the thing the team would need to be the postseason giants they have all the potential to be.
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