SportsNation Blog Archives Los Angeles Angels
Here is a short list of Angels players who have a higher OPS than Albert Pujols: Maicer Izturis, Chris Iannetta, Mark Trumbo, Vernon Wells, Howie Kendrick. Take heart, Angels fans; he's beating Erick Aybar by a single point. Obviously, this isn't going to last all season, but Pujols has gone almost all of April without hitting a home run, which has to be somewhat perplexing for the team that paid him (we're estimating here) eleven hundred trillion dollars to be their franchise player for the next decade. Should the team be in panic mode about Pujols' slow start?
The Angels' offense is markedly unimpressive past Pujols, but when he's not hitting, it's just plain bad.
Home run total?
Pujols' lowest single-season home run total for his entire career is 32, all the way back in 2007.
It's a rare player who gets better the further he advances into his 30s. Pujols is 32 years old, and the Angels likely will have him for the remainder of his career.
Opening Day -- well, Opening Night, really, and we technically already had one of those in Japan, but who's counting? -- is finally here, as the Cardinals will take on the Marlins tonight in the first stateside regular-season MLB game. It's bound to be an exciting season with so many players having changed teams, but has the power structure been altered significantly?
World Series repeat?
The Cardinals prevailed over the Rangers in the 2011 World Series, but St. Louis lost its biggest gun this past offseason ...
... which is a pretty big loss, considering he might be one of the best players of all time.
Odd one out?
The Red Sox missed the playoffs last season after an epic September collapse. Will they be on the outside looking in once again?
Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols were probably the two biggest additions to teams in the American League, meaning the balance of power could shift.
Likewise, the addition of Jose Reyes to the Marlins could give the team a huge upgrade -- offensively with new third baseman Hanley Ramirez, and defensively at shortstop.
The Texas Rangers signed Yu Darvish shortly before the 4 p.m. CT deadline, meaning he'll be in a Rangers uniform and pitching in the States to start this season.
Best in the West?
The Rangers may have needed to sign Darvish just to keep up with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who signed Albert Pujols in the offseason ...
Wilson or Darvish?
... and also stole ace C.J. Wilson from Texas. Wilson is a proven commodity in the majors, but Darvish's potential is thought to be nearly limitless.
The AL East has been the home of baseball's model franchises over the past decade, but the Pujols and Wilson deals, plus the Darvish signing, could signal a changing of the guard.
It's a curious development that the two teams that most successfully avoided wild-card races will help determine which teams earn those spots. The Phillies and Yankees are safely in the postseason, but the Yankees visit the Rays for three games, with the latter just one game behind the Red Sox in the AL wild-card race. In the NL, the Phillies visit the Braves, with the latter just one game ahead of the Cardinals. Do the leaders owe the wild-card contenders full effort? Rank 'Em: Your MLB Power Rankings
How will the AL race conclude?
Jacoby Ellsbury's home run in the top of the 14th inning saved a doubleheader split Sunday, but will it carry the Red Sox to October?
How will the NL race conclude?
While the Braves host the Phillies, Albert Pujols and the Cardinals visit MLB's only 100-loss team for three games against the Astros.
Which team could make it count?
Only the Phillies, Giants and Dodgers have a better ERA from their starting pitchers than the Rays. Does that make David Price's team the ultimate wild card?