clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Know Your Enemy: Los Angeles Angels

The Cubs will see a lot of the Angels over the next few weeks.

Tempe Diablo Stadium, spring home of the Angels in Tempe, Arizona
Tempe Diablo Stadium, spring home of the Angels in Tempe, Arizona
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

This begins our look at the Cubs' interleague opponents for 2016, which will be the five American League West teams plus the White Sox.

The way I see them, the Angels are a mess. This is the fifth year of the massive Albert Pujols 10-year deal. The Angels have made the postseason once in those five years (2014, where they were promptly swept by the Royals in the division series). Pujols had offseason foot surgery and might not be ready for Opening Night against the Cubs in Anaheim.

The Angels don't really have a left fielder, yet Austin Jackson reportedly turned down a deal with them for about $6 million. He'd have started in left, most likely. Instead, the Angels have a melange of outfielders to try there: Daniel Nava, Craig Gentry, and two guys (Todd Cunningham and Rafael Ortega) who have a combined total of less than 100 major-league at-bats.

Infield? Same thing. The Angels acquired Andrelton Simmons from the Braves and he's probably the best defensive shortstop on the planet. The rest? Yunel Escobar, Cliff Pennington, Johnny Giovatella... you get the idea.

C.J. Wilson, signed the same offseason as Pujols, has not performed well for the Angels and they've been trying to trade him. He was injured and missed part of last season and might not be better than a No. 3 starter now.

Garrett Richards is pretty good, but ... he's probably the best they've got right now. Jered Weaver had the worst year of his career in 2015.

Huston Street returns at closer, but unless this mishmash of a club can put together any leads, he might not get that many save opportunities.

The Angels last had a losing season in 2013, but it could happen again this year. That would mean half of the Pujols contract would have gone by without even a league championship, much less a World Series. If that sort of thing happened with many other teams, there might be a fan mutiny, but Angels fans seem kind of blasé about it.

As noted above, the Cubs will open the 2016 season in Anaheim with a two-game series April 4 and 5 (after an exhibition game there April 3, and a game between the two teams at Tempe March 28). The Angels will be at Wrigley Field August 9 and 10. It should be noted that Pujols is the active leader in home runs for a visiting player at Wrigley Field with 28. He homered twice during the series the Angels played at Wrigley in 2013.