As the summer turned into the stretch run in 2012, the Los Angeles Angels were one of the most dangerous teams in baseball. Albert Pujols had shaken off his early-season troubles, Mike Trout had replaced Vernon Wells to establish himself as a legitimate superstar, and midseason acquisition Zack Greinke had joined Dan Haren, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson to form one of the more intimidating rotation quartets in baseball. From the time the Boston Red Sox came to town Aug. 28 through the end of the season, the Angels won 22 of their final 33 games, the second-highest winning percentage in the big leagues.
Never one to sit still, owner Arte Moreno opened his wallet over the winter to once again add the best hitter available on the market, enriching outfielder Josh Hamilton by $133 million. Hamilton joined an offense that already had the third-highest team weighted on-base average in baseball last year without him. Considering the two teams ahead of the Angels on that list, the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers, each suffered serious departures this winter, the Angels could have entered the season rightfully expecting one of the most potent offenses in baseball.
But despite the embarrassment of riches both on offense and in the checkbook, 2013 couldn't have started off worse for the club in almost every way. The Angels might be rich, and they might be talented, but no amount of payroll hides the fact that this team is facing some serious trouble.