Sports: The City of Stars Continues To Grow As Both L.A. Area MLB Teams Make Splashes In Free Agency
by Aeden Alexander
Now that we are almost half way through Spring Training, it’s a perfect time to look at how both the Angels and Dodgers made improvements to their teams and how well they’ll play out.
For starters, the LA Dodgers shocked the world with the major signing of last year’s Cy Young Winner Trevor Bauer. Considering LA’s already loaded rotation which includes the likes of Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, this only added more firepower despite the price the Dodgers payed for Bauer.
In just a few innings of work this spring, Trevor Bauer has shown no signs of slowing down from last years Cy Young campaign as all of his pitches seem to be almost even better than last year. The doubters have been at an all time high, claiming Bauer was only good last season because of the division he played in, which left him matched up against lower skilled players.
This season, though, it will be the ultimate test for him and his Dodger teammates as they have to deal with a young San Diego Padres team that was already good but had one of the greatest offseasons in major league history, picking up former Cy Young winner Blake Snell and star pitcher Yu Darvish, amongst other moves.
The defending champs are indeed looking to go back to back this year and a major player who helped them win was Justin Turner. After seeing how much money it would take for him to re-sign, many fans believed that he was long gone as he was a free agent. However, LA managed to pull off re-signing Turner on top of signing Bauer in hopes his impact will be as major as it was in the previous years.
For the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, they are in a different boat, to say the least. Even though their recent struggles with pitching might not have been completely fixed, they did a good job this past free agency with bringing in guys who can keep the runs let in to a lower rate.
The big question that’s been traveling around the league is how Shohei Ohtani’s arm is. Obviously, Ohtani had a horrible 2020 season on the mound and the Angels are looking for a strong year from him leading the rotation as he continues recovering from injuries. So far this spring he has had one start, where he showed good feel for all his pitches as well as good velocity.
For the rest of the starting rotation, the Angels didn’t do much besides adding right hand pitcher Alex Cobb. As for the bullpen, where the Halos especially struggled last year, they have added more consistent guys who might not be big names but control the mound at a high level.
The Halos also have many top prospects that they plan to bring up to help the rotation and get the core of the team started. While he had a terrible season last year, outfielder Jo Adell, one of the top prospects in baseball, could bounce back all around this season and create a suddenly solid offense alongside Mike Trout, David Fletcher, Anthony Rendon and Justin Upton.
Jose Iglesias was added to the lineup to replace shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who had been with the Halos for the past five years and was the staple of their infield for a long time. Being one of the best defensive shortstops in the league, it was tough for fans to see Simmons walk, but so far in Spring Training, Iglesias has shown continuous signs of improvement at the shortstop position offensively following a sneaky good 2020 campaign.
The Angels seek a playoff berth after what has seemed to be an endless playoff drought. With the new additions the Angels have made, there is a wide ranging hope that the Angels can clinch a wildcard spot or, in a surprise, win the AL West division, which will ultimately be a huge step forward from previous years in which the team has failed to capitalize off the presence of Mike Trout.