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Will the Angels Be Championship Contenders in 2014?

     The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were possibly the biggest bust in sports last year (Tied with a certain Los Angeles Basketball team....). They went all out and paid big bucks to get Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton to come to Anaheim. However, despite all the money spent, the Angels dropped to 3rd in the Al West, and 18th games out of first place.

      The Angels problems ranged from injuries, stars not playing their best, pitching, etc. They crawled to the finish line of the 2013 season, and hoped to make some moves and heal in the off-season.

       Well, now the off-season is over, and the Angels off-season is over. They were able to trade away the disappointing Mark Trumbo for David Freese, and replace Trumbo with Raul Ibanez. Their extra center fielder, Peter Bourjos, was traded away for two pitchers: Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs. Finally, they were able to add Joe Smith to the bullpen.

       Overall, from an outside view point, the off-season seemed to be pretty successful. They improved their hitting with slugger, Raul Ibanez, and improved at the third base position with David Freese. These two assets could be key athletes, hitting along side Pujols, Hamilton, and Trout.

       Speaking of Hamilton and Pujols, the two stars were given a chance to rest and relax. From reports and inside looks, it seems that Pujols was able to take advantage of the off-season. Reporters have concluded that the feel of the Angels has greatly improved, and even better, Pujols has a chip on his shoulder. There has been little news on Hamilton, but I am expecting the revival of Hamilton this season.

       Overall, the hitting improved over the off-season, but the one key that still lacks is pitching. The Angels added Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs, but neither are great additions to the starting rotation. 

        Santiago has played 3 seasons for a total of 8 wins, 10 losses, and a 3.41 ERA. Santiago played a lot more last year for the White Sox, as his record was 4-9 for an ERA of 3.6. Skaggs is young, and has only played 13 games in his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks. While on the Diamondbacks, he compiled a 3-6 record, and a poor 5.43 ERA. Both are additions to the rotation, but their influence will have to be seen on the field. 

Overall, the Angels pitching starting line up will most likely look like this:

CJ Wilson

Jered Weaver

Garrett Richards

Tyler Skaggs

Hector Santiago

Joe Blanton 

       Again, pretty average. The Angels better have great fielding behind the pitchers, as there will be a lot of balls put into play. This, is another improvement over the off-season. The Angels have reported that they are focusing more on defensive shifts and double plays (Last in double plays last season), and this could be a great help to the team. 

        Overall, the Angels are going to need the hitting and fielding to come up big and their pitching to give some surprising results. Even then, the Angels will have to fight through the tough AL West (Rangers, Athletics) to even reach the playoffs! Overall, I do not believe the Angels have enough to make a Championship run, but enough to make run for the playoffs. 

What do you think? Can the Angels contend for a Championship? Will they even make the playoffs? Share your opinion in the comment section below.