Philadelphia, PA – For the second straight year, the Los Angeles Angels have followed up a winter spending spree with a poor start.
Now we know the season is not yet two weeks old, but at what point does Mike Scioscia have to start worrying about his job?
There are some who felt Scioscia should have been fired at the end of last season, when the Angels missed out on the postseason for a third straight year, despite winning 89 games, or one more than eventual American League champion Detroit.
Perhaps you can chalk it up to bad luck with the Angels having played in an AL West which produced two playoff teams in Oakland and Texas, but it shouldn't have even gotten to that point. The Angels spent over $300 million last offseason and brought in the best player on the planet in Albert Pujols, as well as the best pitcher from the best team in their division in C.J. Wilson.
There shouldn't have been any excuses.
And who knows how all that would have unraveled had Mike Trout not been thrust into action on that late April night. Let's not mince words here, had it not been for Trout's amazing rookie season, Scioscia would have been fired.
But, again that's neither here nor there. The Angels made a valiant run, came up short and Scioscia stayed on.
Of course, it's not exactly a first-year manager they'd be replacing. Scioscia is a baseball legend in southern California. Not only did he win a World Series title and is the winningest manager in Angels history, but he was also a two-time All-Star who won two championships with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The decision was not that hard to keep Scioscia around for another year, especially considering he's signed through the 2018 season.
So let's fast forward to this past winter when the Angels again stole the show by coming out of nowhere to lure former AL MVP Josh Hamilton to the team with a $125 million free agent deal.
Again, expectations were through the roof. And rightfully so. On paper it's hard to argue against a lineup that includes Trout, Pujols and Hamilton. Not to mention one of the best right-handers in the game in Jered Weaver at the top of your rotation.
Yet here we are, albeit just over a week into the season, and the Angels are off to another bad start. With Tuesday's loss to Oakland, the Halos are now a mere 2-7 and tied with the hapless Houston Astros for last place in the division.
And the news gets even worse as Weaver fractured his non-throwing elbow in a freak fall on Sunday and will miss at least the next 4-to-6 weeks. Of course, the silver lining is that it wasn't his pitching elbow that was broken.
"It's a tough break," Scioscia said, "but we'll absorb it and keep moving forward."
The Angels are apparently going to look from within to fill the void as Garrett Richards is expected to take Weaver's spot in the rotation.
"We're trying to win a championship here," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "Garrett understands that. Garrett has trained as a starting pitcher and has been stretched as a starting pitcher."
Losing Weaver may ultimately be Scioscia's death knell. With a rotation that already had a lot of question marks, having to get by without a pitcher who has been in the top five in AL Cy Young Award voting each of the past three years for maybe seven turns is going to be a lot to ask.
Now Scioscia is going to be afforded a lot of rope here. At the end of the day, he is still someone who has won AL Manager of the Year twice. He also guided the team to its only world title as well as five division championships.
But, you have to think with the amount of money owner Arte Moreno has put into this team the past couple of years, another slow start is not going to be tolerated.