With the Angel off-season officially spiraling out of control, the Angel big wigs have taken to the newspapers and airwaves with some spin control so bold and brash that it would even make Joseph Goebbels blush.
The Halos need more offensive depth but are sure they can find it from within. So says Herr Scioscia.
Everyone is comfortable with the Angels having each of their major free agent offers come up short. That is what Comrade Reagins would have us believe.
Not overspending is being done strictly for the good of the fans. Baghdad Arte Moreno will tell you that until he is blue in the face.
To all of us fans on the outside, these statements all seem like obvious lies being thrown out there in a desperate attempt to placate an enraged fanbase. They just seem to be selling this bill of good so ardently and frequently that I can't help but wonder if the Angel front office actually believes their own propaganda?
Propaganda! It isn't just for governments anymore!!!
Call me a cynic or a pessimist if you want, but these concerns of mine are very real.
The instant the Angel season ended, we were treated to an inspiring diatribe from Arte Moreno about him spending "whatever it takes" to get this team back on the championship path. A scant few months later and they somehow really expect us to believe that they never were all that into spending big and are perfectly content to take another run at the World Series with virtually the same underachiveing roster. Nobody would blame them if their outlandish obfuscations were exposed merely as desperate attempts to make it seem like they haven't totally embarrassed themselves this off-season.
Deflecting criticism is one thing, but as the unrest of the fans and media rises, so is the defiance of the Angel organization.
When the Crawford Catastrophe unfolded, the company line from the Angels came off as one of disappointment and frustration. They sure wanted Crawford and it didn't work out. They weren't happy about it, but they weren't going to quit trying to improve the ballclub. That was a message we could all stomach. They lost out, it sucked but they were going to keep trying.
Oh how I pine for the days of that message. Now after losing out on Adrian Beltre, the new Angel aphorism is more like, "What? Me worry?" As if all the concerned fans out there are a bunch of buffoons. How is it we don't understand that adding two middle-aged middle relief southpaws is really the "big splash" they promised us? Are we blind to the clear room for internal improvement from the existing crop of position players? Why would this off-season be considered a disappointment?
To Tony Reagins, the answer to that final question is, "No, not at all." Well, Tony (and Mike and Arte), I've got a question for you: what happened to all of that "we'll do better" sentiment? All of their recent statements have gone from focusing on continuing to search for solutions to concentrating on living with what they already have... and nothing more. Come on, guys, at least toss us a bone, some sort of ray of hope that there might still be winter salvaging move forthcoming.
Nope, not going to happen. Want to know why? They've convinced themselves they are just fine with what they have on hand.
It seems crazy to think that they could be even remotely please to enter 2011 with virtually the same cast of characters that gave us one of the most inept Angel offense in decades, but the more the Angel brass speaks, the more they seem to be buying into what they are selling. That deep current of disappointment is gone from their latest press interactions with nary a trace of it left to be found. How else can we really explain them not even wanting to talk about making anything more than minor moves?
I'd like to believe that they are simply trying to do a better job of managing expectations so that there isn't a third wave of fan rage should the Halos fail to swing a big trade, but the history of this franchise makes me think otherwise. Surely none of us have already forgotten about the Stoneman Era, right? Playing it conservatively and looking within for answers is part of the Angel DNA. Stoneman never made big move when it seemed obvious the team needed one. Guess who taught Reagins everything he knows? Nor should we forget that it was as recent as a few months ago that the Angels spurned common sense and logic by NOT making any kind of move to find a replacement for Kendry Morales after he broke his leg. Inaction is simply the way this franchise works.
I really wish I didn't feel this way about Arte Moreno and his minons, but the evidence is steadily moving from circumstantial to overwhelming. Hopefully the Halos can prove me wrong, and soon, but I have a hunch that instead of a surprise major move that proves me wrong, we are just going to get more and more of a propaganda blitzkrieg that will only increase in its fervor and intensity as the 2011 season approaches.
I pray that I am wrong.