Apr 5, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton (32) and first baseman Albert Pujols (5) before the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers beat the Angels 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Expect a bounce back 2014 campaign from the Angels

On paper, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were the favorites to represent the American League in the World Series this year – and with good reason.

Prior to the 2012 season, the club signed not one, but two major superstars, inking Cardinals’ slugger Albert Pujols and division rival Texas Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton to a pair of massive deals, immediately raising the expectations for the club.

That year, the team finished 89-73, five games back of the division champion Oakland Athletics. The team said they would regroup, refocus and come back to win a title in 2013. Well, that didn’t happen, either.

Despite a massive payroll, the Angels stumbled out of the gates, and despite a strong second half push, failed to even finish with a .500 record – at 78-84, 18 games back of Oakland, which won its second straight AL West crown.

So where do we go from here? First, and foremost, the inner bickering between GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia has to end – for the team’s sake. Second, new hitting coach Don Baylor needs to get Hamilton back on track.

Last season, Hamilton hit just .250 with 21 home runs and 79 RBIs, and Pujols missed the bulk of the season with plantar fasciitis issues. The season prior, 2012, Pujols was slow to start, but came on with a vengeance, hitting .285 with 30 homers and 105 RBIs. He also added 50 doubles – which ranked second in the league – and 173 hits.

In other words, if you’re a Rangers fan or an A’s fan, beware.

With a healthy Pujols and a hot-hitting Hamilton back on track and a formidable rotation of Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Joe Blanton – who struggled mightily last season – this team will be back and better than ever.

Oh, and don’t forget about the man who single-handedly kept the Angels in any type of contention this season – Mike Trout. He’s pretty good.

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Tags: Albert Pujols Josh Hamilton Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim Mike Trout MLB

  • BrianC6234

    All I expect from the Angels next year is one more of Mike Trout wasted on a horrible team.

  • steveg

    Not holding my breath. Would love to see Angels go back to little ball, use the speed and make things happen instead of waiting for things to happen like the last two years.

  • Mario Molina

    Only way were gna be a World Series contender is if we get 2 good SP and a couple of RP. The 2 SP need to be as good as Weaver. If we settle for Vargas and Blanton we will be under .500 again.

  • Caleb Reece

    “Prior to the 2012 season, the club signed … Josh Hamilton … ” Nope. Josh was not signed prior to the 2012 season.

  • carllafong

    You had me until you said Joe Blanton would rebound and help form a formidable rotation. Uh, Blanton might be out of baseball next season, but wherever he is it won’t be with the Angels. Blanton only pitched in a couple of games for the last six weeks for a reason. I actually re-read his name three times thinking maybe that was a typo.

  • Underdog_Lefty

    Salary cap issues or not, the clock is ticking for the Angels to show Trout some real love ($$$) this off-season and it falls squarely on Moreno’s shoulders. He’s the one throwing mega-contracts around, not Dipoto. The dude is a billionaire who also just happened to sign a new 1/2B$ mega-TV deal last offseason and then immediately turned around and signed Hamilton to a huge contract. Trout still being under team control is irrelevant to this issue because he’s a player that comes around once or twice in a lifetime, Moreno should be counting his lucky stars that this kid ended up on his team’s roster and do everything he can to lock him in now before it’s too late. Trout’s agent has already made enough noise last off-season about how cheap the Angels were when handing out his 2nd year bump. Trout proved he wasn’t a one year wonder this past season, he’s the real deal.
    PLEASE, don’t do it again Arte, throw some love ($$$) Trout’s way before it’s too late. At least give him a nice “engagement” bump so he knows that in a few years you truly do plan to marry him and give him a contract worthy of the best player in baseball. Because if you don’t, then the clock will tick that much closer to the day Trout leaves, and if that day comes, so will many Angels fans leave with him.

  • Barbara Schriebman

    Joe Blanton?????