The Angel front office needs negotiating lessons from Master Yoda.
Tony Reagins must not be a big Star Wars fan because if he was, he would know that there is on try, only do. Reagins and the Angels tried real hard to sign Aroldis Chapman in the last week but the only thing they did was watch as yet another prized free agent target escape their grasp.
This is starting to become a trend: the Angels go full bore after a free agent or trade target, they stay into it right up until the last minute but then they lose out in the end because they didn't quite have the gusto to close the deal. In just one off-season we've seen this same scenario play out already with Roy Halladay, Chone Figgins, John Lackey and now Aroldis Chapman. If the Angels were trying to pick up chicks rather than free agents, they'd have the world's worst case of blue balls by now. If this were just one bad off-season, I'd understand, but we've all seen this little scene play out before, lest we forget how the Mark Teixeira situation played out last off-season. But hey, at least we know Reagins can close the deal on guys like Gary Matthews, right? Thank goodness for that.
I'm all for financial restraint and all of that good stuff, but at a point you need to set your sights on something and just go out and get it. Missing out on almost every free agent target you've gone after just to show what a good negotiator you are is the very definition of cutting off your nose just to spite your face and after coming up short on Chapman, the Halos are decidedly noseless.
What really burns about the loss of Chapman is that he was essentially Plan D for the Angels this off-season and Tony Reagins still couldn't get it done. The Angels know they need to find an ace-caliber arm for their rotation if they ever hope to return to the World Series. That is why they tried (and failed) to trade for Roy Halladay twice and why they acquired Scott Kazmir, even though they know he probably isn't the answer and why they tried to keep John Lackey since he was the best option available though he may not quite be what they needed. Chapman was their Hail Mary attempt at landing that ace. Aroldis may never amount to anything, but he could also be great and that was a chance the Angels needed to take. True ace starting pitchers are so hard to come by (unless you have an endless supply of money like the Yankees and Red Sox in which case you can buy them in bulk at Costco) which is exactly why a small-market team like the Reds stepped up with the cash to get their hands Chapman, because they know that they have so few chances at landing an ace through any other means. To the Reds, Chapman is their desperate gamble at respectability but for the Angels he would have been a calculated risk at greatness, the Angel front office just didn't have the stones to pull it off.
Chapman will be wearing red in the big leagues, just not Halo Red.
While Tony Reagins was busy worrying about making the wrong move at the wrong price, he forgot to worry about what happens if the Angels don't do anything which certainly seems to be the situation they now find themselves in. The options for finding a difference making arm continue to dwindle with just the injury-prone likes of Ben Sheets and Erik Bedard remaining. Instead of paying the piper for a sure thing like Roy Halladay, there is a very good chance the Angels will have to hang their championship hopes on the fragile arm of one of those two players. Actually, that's probably not true either. Reagins has been so risk averse this off-season he'll probably balk at both pitchers' asking price and decide to just hope for improvement from within. And when that strategy results in another early playoff exit, Angel fans will just have to find a way to take solace in the fact that Reagins tried.