ESPN Magazine: Angels "Worst Franchise" in Baseball

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For years, Anaheim Angels of Anaheim owner Arte Moreno has made much hay about how Forbes once named him the best owner in professional sports. That was back in 2009, the last year the Halos made the playoffs. Ever since then, of course, the team has bumbled its way through hundreds of millions of dollars in high-priced free agents who haven't panned out and the disembowelment of its farm and scouting system, leading Forbes last year to call the team the worst in Major League Baseball for the money.

Now comes ESPN The Magazine, which wrote a long profile on the team's farm system, in the process calling them "the worst franchise in MLB." And it's not just the Mag who's saying that.

The story begins last year at spring training, when Angels assistant GM Scott Servais gathered all of the Angels' minor league players, coaches, and managers and asked how many of them had made the playoffs in 2012 in their respective minor leagues. Only one person.

"Baseball America thinks we have the worst talent in the game," Servais said, according to ESPN. "How does that make you feel? You play in the worst organization in the game."

Baseball America has once again deemed the Angels dead last in its rankings of franchise's organizational talent--this, on a team with budding superstar Mike Trout, fading superstars Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols...and a whole bunch of nothing afterwards. And this assessment doesn't factor in Moreno's wish to fleece taxpayers in Anaheim, Tustin, or anywhere stupid enough to build him a new stadium.

The ESPN piece ends on a positive note: by the end of 2013, four of the Angels six minor-league affiliates had made their playoffs. Can the same happen at the mother ship this year?

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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59 comments
tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

So why haven't they cancelled the baseball team and converted the stadium in to a football one yet?

Craig Grossman
Craig Grossman

Dave Nguyen - Per usual, I am certain ESPN will feature the Angels on Sunday Night Baseball and in its other games/programming in the upcoming baseball season so the "worst franchise in MLB" label will be an afterthought to them at the end of the day.

no1voice
no1voice

Arte was originally seen as our Savior - with kids even wearing Moreno jerseys! Now he’s gone from Savior to Scourge! Not ONE decision he’s made lately (including his manager-end-around with the over-priced, but worthless Hamilton.) When the Anaheim City Council caved to all his demands, I was FURIOUS! THOSE people clearly are NOT Angels’ fans and have no right making decisions on their behalf! ALL ANAHEIM MEMBERS WHO VOTED FOR THIS MUST BE REMOVED!


If it all was up to me, I’d standup to Moreno and say “Go ahead! MOVE! You think you haven’t got the support YOU need, then bail - because we don’t NEED you! Move the team somewhere else (Chatenooga. Phoenix, BF Egypt) where the whether ISN’T perfect and medium income is MUCH lower, while WE draw almost any team in MLB to sunny Southern California! Or, you can TRY to secure tax monies from ANOTHER OC city (in this economy? Ha!) all while persuading them to call themselves 'Los Angeles’! Good Luck with that, Arte!


This Who-Cares attitude has definitely trickled down: from the management and players’ lackluster performances, to the worst in-house ‘show’ presented in any team from ANY major league sport. Say what you will about Disney’s ownership, but THEY knew how to entertain us! And THESE clowns haven’t a clue!


FINAL WORD: Arte has ALWAYS blamed the incredibly unpopular name change on ‘marketing’. And I say that if you can’t market the World Series Champions (as they were when you took over), then your problem isn’t with your name but with your MARKETING TEAM!

Chazzy Hunter
Chazzy Hunter

All I gotta say is Angels are up 56-40 vs the Doyers in interleague play. So suck it.

tbplayer1
tbplayer1

The farm system may be the worst NOW because they recently traded away all their young players, or they're with the big club. Sure, most of the trades didn't work out the way they had hoped, but sometimes you have to roll the dice.  Trade a maybe great career for a run at a championship now?  Happens all the time. 

Matthew Morey
Matthew Morey

Why would us Dodger fans "laugh it up"? I really don't care how the Angels are managed. Although it may be misguided, at least your owner is putting money back in the team. Until Arte decides to sign AAA players for the starting infield so he can fund his vacations, houses, hairdressers and witch doctors (like Frank McCourt did), don't come crying to me about how bad your owner is.

Joe Pinney
Joe Pinney

David Santoro - Disney owned the Angels from 1996 to 2003.

Bsr Rsa
Bsr Rsa

Fuck the angels. Fuck the dodgers. Both fan bases can suck it. Aren't you dodger fans supposed to be out beating someone almost to death and paralyzingly them? Beaners

jgmcfadden
jgmcfadden

This article is a lie. The ESPN piece DOES NOT SAY the Angels are the worst franchise in baseball. In fact, the ESPN piece is a very good analysis of what the Halos are doing to improve the farm system. Gustavo, every time you write about baseball, you make an ass out of yourself. Stick to a topic you are familar with, like mom and pop fast food restaurants, or clothing stores that specialize in fat mans sizes.

Andy Torres
Andy Torres

most people that are all upset are probably band wagon or fair weather fans or both. I remember when the Angels were truly, painfuly bad. Angels started pulling south Orange County fans who cry when it rains complain when its hot. Its what everyone wanted. I remember when the popular thought was Arte should spend who cares about the prospects. Now that he has and it didnt work the 1st or even 2nd year everybody thinks they know whats best. Its a joke. yeah we sucked last year but that was last year. Dodgers sucked for 30 years they were good one year now thats they think they are much better. HA.

John Hicks
John Hicks

Angels Management SUCKS! From Arte to Scioscia it sucks.

Zsolt Girba
Zsolt Girba

It's not the team, it is how it's managed. If you think your team is the best, then you're as ignorant as Moreno. You're hardcore about one team? That's great. But you are not a sports fan. Hate the Yankees, not a Dodged fan, but I give props to where props are due!

Jose Hernandez
Jose Hernandez

Lmfao Santiago Navarro Andy Torres Carlos Martinez

Carol Latimer
Carol Latimer

Where would the angels be without the super Mr. Trout.

castillo_ken
castillo_ken

Remember when the Dodgers were going through a rough time and Angels fans were talking all that smack, karma is a bitch

Jesus A. Herrera
Jesus A. Herrera

But.... They won 1 world series! According to Angel fans that makes them the best team in mlb. The team just needs to relocate. You got my vote move the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Don Mexico
Don Mexico

And we needed ESPN to tell us this? Well duh! Anyone in baseball could have told you the Angels suck. Fuck yo team, Analslime!

WeBleed DodgerBlue
WeBleed DodgerBlue

I don't think so, they have probably the best player in the world.

Scott Hedrick
Scott Hedrick

Changed the name to LA b/c the city which holds the most popular theme park in the world wasn't recognizable enough, then Rex Huddler get booted which is like removing Autry from our history, then we trade great players like Napoli (a fan favorite) for an over paid under producing Wells and over pay for busted up superstars and now this whole stadium situation. Arte you have sucked the soul out of OUR team and loyal fan base. Figure it out and sell some damn STANDING ROOM SEATS already.

Jason Gallo
Jason Gallo

It is pretty much true sad to say...Angels have nobody in their farm system left and wasted all that money on fading stars that haven't helped us at all when we should have got pitching. Looks like another long road of being shitty. Nothing new for true Angels fans

Venusse Dominique
Venusse Dominique

I guess I'll reiterate my original comment since the lack of comprehension on this thread is evident. I am choosing NOT to badmouth my team regardless of the crap written about them. Because an ESPN reporter writes they're garbage, you're going to jump on the writer's lap and agree with him? You're entitled to your own opinion and so are all sports reporters who choose to write an article about their two cents. I support the Angels no matter what and yeah, I'm a REAL baseball fan.

Rick Hale
Rick Hale

A "real" fan of baseball knows that the comments about the farm system, Pooholes, and Hamilton are all true, not just the musings of a quack. Feel free to make an actual rational argument for how that article is wrong or better yet, link to someone, anyone, reputable who say's they aren't a garbage organization.

David Santoro
David Santoro

ESPN is owned by Disney. Disneyland is in Anaheim. Can't pinpoint it, but there's got to be some type of connection in there somewhere.

Sean Hakai
Sean Hakai

Jason Gallo Jay Dubb Jesse Romero

Venusse Dominique
Venusse Dominique

I'm a tool for actually understanding the game and choosing not to badmouth my team? I guess I'm the biggest tool in the shed.

ben07
ben07

Moreno is running this franchise into the ground. He may have had a few teams make the playoffs (not in the last 4 years BTW) but the team the won the World Series was owned by Disney and the other playoff teams had a lot of home grown talent on them that were drafted before Moreno took over. Back when they won the world series they were rated as one of the best franchise in all of sports, not just baseball and flash forward 10 years later and they are trash. Hopefully they will start making better decisions and not go after people like Grenkie (gave up awesome ss Segura for a rented player) and other mid seson trades that depleated there once very solid minor league system.


Moreno has such a good baseball mind that he traded Napoli and Juan Rivera for Vernon Wells. This guy's salary is like $22 million a year and he sucked. Napoli and Rivera together made like $12 million a year. Then they dump Wells last year before the season and the Yankees get him for free because Moreno is still paying his salary through this season. That's 22 million for a guy who isn't even playing baseball anymore. These are the kinds of savy business deals Moreno make. The kind that hold a team hostage.


It's going to be a while before they become a great franchise again. 

Rick Hale
Rick Hale

I'm an Angels fan (head hung low) and I have no rational argument to dispute that. The Moreno era has me longing for Disney. If they f up the Trout negotiations, and I pretty much expect them to, I will no longer be a fan. There is a limit to my loyalty.

Herrera Izack
Herrera Izack

That piece of greedy trash Arte has destroyed the equity in this team. I think his goal these last few years was to tankbthe team as a negotiation tactic straight out of the movie major league.

Venusse Dominique
Venusse Dominique

As a REAL baseball fan, I'll support the guys (Angels) no matter what. ESPN gets some quack to write an article and suddenly we have to run with it like it's Bible. They can all eff off.

DanChmielewski
DanChmielewski

It's interesting you didn't provide a link to the story in ESPN Magazine because the focus of the piece is actually on things the team has done to start improving their farm system.


Allow me:  http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10470778/los-angeles-angels-try-anything-fix-worst-franchise-mlb-espn-magazine


Some nuggets from the story in ESPN Magazine:


Servais is the guy who was hired in 2011 to fix them. It's a job he's done before. As the Rangers' director of player development, he took an organization that had baseball's 28th-best farm system and in two years turned it into the best. But if that was a nifty trick -- like juggling eight balls and a chain saw -- turning around the Angels' system is like repeating it, blindfolded and on roller skates.


Since the Angels have few avenues to acquire impact talent, Servais is left to develop it. So he recently burrowed into his home on 35 acres in Colorado to compile a guide to player development, a manual to be read by everybody from ownership on down. It would lay out the Angels' organizational philosophies and offer step-by-step development strategies for each skill a player must master. It would help modernize the Angels' player development department; it would make the team more like the one every organization in baseball wants to be -- the Cardinals.


That's where the new Angels player development model comes in. Although Servais hasn't completed his own manual just yet, the organization has, broadly speaking, rallied around three central tenets.


1. Spend, Big and Small. Moneyball, at its heart, was really just about identifying places where a dollar spent can bring back $1.10 in value. And the minors provide countless places where small investments might nudge players toward their best selves, or at least remove the obstacles in their way.


The Angels, upon Servais' arrival, were spending around $9 million a year on player development, meager compared with most teams. Their Dominican facility, with no air conditioning and terrible food, was dilapidated; MLB threatened to shut it down. Their use of technology was 10 to 15 years behind the rest of the league, according to their own estimates.


Since last year, the Angels have tripled their spending on Dominican facilities and bumped overall spending to $12 million annually. Smaller expenses are no less important to Servais: a nutritionist, hot breakfasts at spring training, a supplements budget, cellphones for coaches, travel budgets for coaches' families, bedspreads with the Angels logo for the Dominican kids. Bedspreads probably won't win the Angels their next title, but they might just make players a little more comfortable -- and they cost less than Josh Hamilton earns taking batting practice.


2. Try Everything. The Angels' PD staff -- half of it hired or in new positions since Servais took over -- has become used to seeing its unconventional ideas tested. In the Dominican Republic, the Angels started measuring time of possession. (The quality of pitches increased significantly the quicker the pitcher worked.) They're filming instructional leaguers from ladders so players can see their footwork on defense. They're incorporating elements of advance scouting in rookie ball: Idle pitchers will sit in the stands, chart the way opposing pitchers attack hitters, then run back to post the results in the dugout. They measure new stats -- like how often batters fight back from a pitcher's count -- and share them with the players.


The Angels expect to finally install TrackMan video technology, at a cost of $500,000, at one of their minor league parks this season, giving them access to troves of information on pitcher spin, hit trajectories and other granular data -- and shrinking the large data gap between them and other forward-thinking organizations. A team can have one of three relationships with advanced metrics. Tier one: Ignore them. Tier two: Embrace and employ what's already out there. Tier three: Create its own intelligence.


"We want to get to three," Servais says.


3. Get 55 Coaches to Feel, and Act, as if They're on the Same Team. This might be the most important tenet. If the High-A hitting coach spends a year on a player's swing but passes the baton to a Double-A hitting coach who undoes it, the player loses faith in the system and goes back to the hitting guru he's known since sixth grade.


That's where Servais' new manual will come in. But it's also where the cellphones and family travel budgets play a role -- it's why Servais once threatened to quit if his coaching staff at Texas wasn't paid more. And it's where listening to everybody, and giving each idea an honest trial, comes in. If the 55 coaches are one unit, they're sharing information -- they know Yarbrough has size 12 1/2 feet, limiting how graceful he can be. They know how he'll respond to criticism, how diligently he'll stick to endlessly repetitive drills. He, in turn, will trust them.


What Servais knows is this: At the end of the 2013 season, he went from affiliate to affiliate, watching his teams play in their league playoffs. Four of six Angels affiliates made the postseason, and a fifth just missed. High-A championships aren't worth much in this sport. Still, in every city Servais visited, players flagged him down, dozens in all. "Hey," they'd call, "remember that day in spring training?" The day he asked how many of them had played in the playoffs the year before? The day he told them how bad the world thought they were?

"It'd be kind of funny if he does that again," says Kaleb Cowart, now the team's No. 3 prospect. "It'd be a lot of hands come up."

*****


You're a terrible Angels fan Gustavo.  It's a long season.  Players can bounce back from a bad season and excel.  It happens all the time.  The story really says the Angels are taking a number of steps to improve their farm system and focus on player development.  That's a good thing.  Going after proven big money free agent talent is also a good thing. Injuries happen.  Other teams get hot, Players like Mike Trout come out of nowhere.  But what matter's most is wins, playoff runs and titles. 


That all said, there's another team in Anaheim on top of the world in their professional league.  The Ducks are the best team in hockey, yet seats remain empty on a number of fronts.  This sort of dispels the notion fans come out for winning teams.  I have no doubt that come the playoffs, those seats in Anaheim's Honda Center will be filled.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@jgmcfaddenAre you blind? Read the very top of the story online, the part that says "Los Angeles Angels will try anything to fix the worst franchise in MLB"

TowelieLama
TowelieLama

Arte let Hudler go because he smoked weed which is considered a liability in Scottsdale.  Rex was also seen as non-bracero friendly.  As we all know, no one in OC can relate to a announcer who is high and talking Hispanic smack.  The mexi-posers get especially bent.


http://www.halosheaven.com/2005/8/11/1452/77939

TowelieLama
TowelieLama

@DanChmielewski What the fuck ever.  Hey transplant, you do realize there was a team before the Quacks, right?  Good luck with them Halos (and your other Anaheim "team" will be out by the second round of the playoffs).  Enjoy mediocrity, kook.

jdizzy2222
jdizzy2222

@TowelieLama @DanChmielewski What team are you referring to that was before the Quacks? The team that took over 40 years to win the Stanley Cup, the team that couldn't win the Cup with the best player in the history of the league? The team that has been to as many Conference finals as the Ducks who have only been in the league for 20 years...if anyone knows anything about mediocrity it's a Kings fan...

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