In 2016, the Angels finished the season with a record of 78-84. 2016 was also the year the Warriors won an NBA record 73 games in a season while only playing 82 games all year. Ever since the Angels last made the post-season in 2014, they weren't getting any better. They signed Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson to a combined $202.5 million which both of them didn't play much for the team due to injuries.

They owe 38-year-old Albert Pujols $114 million over the next four years as back in 2012, he signed a 10 year, $240 million contract. As Angels fans are eager to get back to the playoffs with once in a generation player in Mike Trout, the 2017-18 off-season should give them more hope than they've had in a while.

Japanese Babe Ruth

The most coveted free agent of the 2017-18 off-season was Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani. What made him so special is the fact that he can both hit and pitch extremely well. He has the ability to throw a fastball at 103 MPH and has had his hitting ability being raved by scouts. He is also able to run to first in under four seconds which is a very good time. Due to his age of 23-years-old, in order to sign with a major league team, he would have to sign a minor league deal along with a signing bonus from international bonus pool money.

As all 30 teams made a push to sign him, he narrowed his list down to seven teams which included the Angels, Mariners, Padres, Cubs and three other teams.

When Angels GM Billy Eppler got a call from his agent to let him know on his decision, Eppler probably jumped out of his chair in excitement as the two way star chose the Angels. The addition of Ohtani brought an immediate impact to the Angels rotation and lineup.

Off-season signings

The Angels were the first team to make a big splash in the 2017-18 off-season as on November 2, the re-signed LF Justin Upton to a five-year, $106 million contract.

The Angels originally acquired Upton at the 2017 trade deadline in order to help the team make a push for a wild card spot which the ultimately came up short of. The signing of Upton brings, stability in LF for the Angels as the previous years, the Angels were shuffling through players to play LF.

The Angels also brought in Zack Cozart on a three-year, $38 million contract.

Cozart was the starting SS for the NL all-star team at the 2017 all-star game as in the first half of the season, he got 78 hits in 66 games which gave him an average of .316. After the all-star break, he was hampered by injuries which saw him spend time on the DL but he still finished the season with a solid slash line of .297/.385/.548 and set career highs in 3B, HR and BB. With the defensively gifted Andrelton Simmons penned in at SS for the Angels, Cozart was brought in to play 3B for them which is a position he has never played before at the highest level until this season.

Trades made in the off-season

If Ohtani, Cozart and Upton weren't enough, the Angels went out and added more. The Angels struck a trade with the Tigers for 2B Ian Kinsler in exchange for two minor league players.

Kinsler is coming off a season which saw him bat a career low of .236 but the Angels traded for him with the belief that he will bounce back this season. With the addition of Kinsler, the Angels are one of the best defensive teams in baseball and they might even be the best. The Angels have a Gold Glove Award winner from the past three years as RF Kole Calhoun won a gold glove in 2015, Kinsler won gold glove in 2016 as a member of the Tigers and 2017 saw two members of the Angels win a gold glove award as both C Martin Maldonado and SS Andrelton Simmons won a gold glove award.

2018 season

With the additions made during the off-season, it can be clearly seen that the Angels built a team to contend for a playoff spot.

With the Angels being in the same division as the reigning world series champions Houston Astros, it wil be a long shot for the Angels to clinch the AL West division meaning they're best shot at making the playoffs is by clinching a wild card spot.

With most teams in the AL being in rebuild mode or just being a strong team, they don't have a lot of competition as their main threats to clinching a spot are the Red Sox and Twins. However, there could be some surprise teams who could make a run for a wild card spot like the White Sox, Jays, Rangers and maybe even the Mariners. If the Angels want to come out on top of their competition and increase their chances, they will have to add to both the bullpen and rotation as the Angels lack a reliable arm out of the pen.

Regarding the rotation, Ohtani can't carry them all the way and they can't rely on Garrett Richards to be healthy for a whole season as he has missed lots of time in previous seasons with injuries.

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