Angels Give Up on Playoff Hopes, Slash Payroll
The Los Angeles Angels have shocked the baseball world by placing five of their players on waivers, essentially giving up on their playoff hopes and slashing their payroll. The players are starting pitcher Lucas Giolito, relievers Matt Moore and Reynaldo López, and outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Randal Grichuk. All of them were acquired by the Angels at the trade deadline in July, when the team was still in contention for a wild card spot. However, a disastrous August has left the Angels with a 63-69 record, 11.5 games behind the third wild card team.
The move is seen as a desperate attempt by the Angels to avoid paying the luxury tax, which is imposed on teams whose payroll exceeds a certain threshold. According to some estimates, the Angels are over the tax line by $5 million. By placing these players on waivers, the Angels are hoping that other teams will claim them and take over their salaries, saving the Angels from paying any overage fees.
What Does It Mean for the Players?
The players who were placed on waivers have 48 hours to be claimed by other teams, starting from Thursday. The waiver order is determined by the inverse order of the standings, meaning that the worst teams have the first chance to claim them. If a player is claimed by more than one team, he goes to the team with the worst record among them. If a player is not claimed by any team, he remains with the Angels.
The players who are claimed by other teams will have to report to their new clubs as soon as possible and join them for the rest of the season. They will be eligible for the postseason roster if they are claimed before September 1. The players who are not claimed will stay with the Angels until the end of the season, unless they are traded or released.
How Will It Affect the Playoff Race?
The waiver move by the Angels could have a significant impact on the playoff race, as some of the players are potential upgrades for contending teams. Giolito, a former All-Star, has struggled since joining the Angels, but he still has a track record of being a frontline starter. Renfroe and Grichuk are power-hitting outfielders who could provide some pop to a lineup. Moore and López are versatile pitchers who can pitch in relief or as starters.
Some of the teams that could be interested in claiming these players are the Dodgers, Giants, Padres, Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rays, White Sox, Astros, Brewers, Braves, Phillies, Reds, and Cardinals. All of these teams are either leading their divisions or fighting for a wild card spot. Adding one or more of these players could give them an edge over their rivals in the final month of the season.
What Does It Mean for the Angels’ Future?
The waiver move by the Angels is a clear sign that they have given up on their season and are looking ahead to next year. The team has been plagued by injuries to some of their star players, such as Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. Ohtani, who has been having an MVP-caliber season as a two-way player, will not pitch for the rest of the season due to a ligament tear in his right elbow. Trout, a three-time AL MVP, returned from a broken hand for one game before going back on the injured list.
The Angels will have to make some tough decisions in the offseason regarding their roster and payroll. Ohtani is set to become a free agent after this season and will likely command a huge contract from any team that wants to sign him. Trout is under contract until 2030 but has a full no-trade clause that gives him control over his destiny. The team will also have to address its pitching woes, which have been a perennial problem for them.
The waiver move by the Angels is a stunning development that could shake up the playoff race and change the landscape of baseball for years to come.