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It’s time for the Angels and their fans to look at the long game – Orange County Register

ANAHEIM – The Angels stink this season. And you hate it, don’t you?

You should not.

If you’re a fan of the ball club, you feel cheated. Duped and demoralized.

But please don’t.

Come on, you say. You heard Perry Minasian, the club’s general manager, say the Angels would be “aggressive” this offseason and you leaned forward in your seat, eager to see what came next.

You made peace with the departure of Shohei Ohtani (what choice did you have?) and took to heart rumors that the Angels were investigating left-hander Blake Snell and first baseman/center fielder Cody Bellinger in free agency . You hoped they — or other comparable free agents — would end up in Anaheim this year, capable complements to (now injured) Mike Trout.

And then you saw the Angels’ biggest offseason signing be reliever Robert Stephenson. A shrug for the three-year, $33 million acquisition of an injured pitcher who has yet to take the mound for the club whose 16-28 start is the second-worst in franchise history. franchise.

How are you supposed to be okay with that?

Because it’s going to be okay. Or, it might be OK – if the Angels lean all the way into the long game, which will force them (and you) to put up with the stink.

Accepting the painful part of the growing pains that are happening now and for the foreseeable future.

To give these young people – Nolan Schanuel and Logan O’Hoppe, Zach Neto and Mickey Moniak, Jo Adell and Reid Detmers – a little grace, to comfort themselves in their small victories.

Be OK with the type of delayed gratification you’re considering instead of being forced to grudgingly accept it in real time, year after year.

Simply because a team does not go up to the roof with a megaphone – test, one, two, test! – proclaiming that a reconstruction is a reconstruction does not mean that it is not one.

Especially when manager Ron Washington lays it out almost plainly: “I want to see us win more ball games, but you’ve got to learn how to do it, and this group that I have, they’re learning how to winhe said before Wednesday’s 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, a taste of what his group is capable of.

“I recognize an ‘Aha!’ moment every day,” Washington added. “They all have skills, they all do something some nights that make you go, ‘Wow, I wish he learned to do that consistently.’ But they just haven’t had the chance to do it yet – and now they have this chance, so we just have to be patient. You have to be patient.»

And I know I’m testing your patience now, Angels fan, because how can anyone expect you to talk about a full-fledged youth movement when the club’s farm system smells like a farm ; it stinks too!

It has been well documented how behind the times the Angels developmental system is. So no matter which experts are doing the evaluation, FanGraphs, ESPN or MLB Pipeline, no one ranks him better than 28th out of 30.

In 2022, Southern California News Group’s Jeff Fletcher took a deep dive into the array of developmental issues preventing the Angels from achieving their goal, which, as Minasian once said, is to “systematically put out a product competitor in the field.

The Angels – who have had consistent losing seasons since 2015 – haven’t had the proper backup depth to fill gaps when their big players get hurt. They didn’t have enough marketable prospects to close deals. They have not had the technological capabilities to keep pace with their adversaries, nor the philosophical conviction to follow through.

And we all know why. It was not a priority for club owner Arte Moreno.

“The genesis of the (player development issue) was Arte’s reluctance to make big investments in this area,” a former Angels executive told Fletcher in 2022. “As Arte starts to be more and more more excited about the ideas of flashy free agent signings, from (Bartolo) Colon to (Vladimir) Guerrero and leading to everyone since, there has simply been a change in spending behavior or how the money was allocated.

Moreno tried to eat his cake and wants more too; it did not work. Even with greats like Ohtani and Trout on the roster.

I don’t know what Trout’s appetite might be, but it’s time to make this thing from scratch. Whatever Minasian needs, from personnel to technology upgrades to a contract extension beyond this season, give it to him.

Choose a path – Minsasian’s concept of “winning is a skill” – and live in it; trust that your line of cars will eventually start moving.

Nurture guys like Neto while he grows, the plucky 23-year-old Floridian, the 13th overall pick in the June 2022 MLB Amateur Draft, now in his second Major League season.

He showed up at the ballpark early Wednesday with a smile, never mind the Angels’ poor record and three straight losses. He spotted his manager and said, “Look who just showed up? Big Dad! » And then he went to drill a homer over the left field wall before heading to Washington – I told you!

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