If you asked 100 MLB fans who the biggest spenders were this offseason, probably 99 of them would say the Angels and Marlins. Los Angeles, who already had a talented core with the likes of Jared Weaver and Howard Kendrick, added the game’s biggest “get” in Albert Pujols and Texas flamethrower C.J. Wilson. Miami’s big signing was division rival Jose Reyes, but the Marlins also added several complimentary pieces including closer Heath Bell and southpaw pitcher Mark Buerhle.
So what do these two ball clubs have in common other than being the last two teams to “relocate” without actually relocating? They’ve struggled thus far in 2012.
Miami, who won last night to dig themselves out of a losing record, now sits at 6-6. Unfortunately, the NL East is so talented this year, .500 is only good enough for fourth place. As for the Angels, they sit at the bottom of the A.L. West, behind the likes of the Athletics and the Mariners.
Together, the two clubs have a record of 10-14, which gives them a win percentage of only .416. The Mariners, Athletics, Mets, and Pirates, some of the league’s most mediocre (and, in some cases, that’s putting it nicely) teams are all doing better than that. Of course, how you do in the first 12 games of a 162-game season isn’t the end-all-be-all. But the interesting thing here is WHO is struggling on these squads.
Jose Reyes is batting .240 with seven strikeouts to only three walks. Mark Buerhle has done alright (even though nit-pickers will say his .273 average for opponent’s bats is less than spectacular) but Heath Bell has been anything but closer-like with a bloated ERA of 9.00 after blowing 2 of 3 save opportunities and racking up two of the teams first six pitching losses.
For the Angels, Albert Pujols is hitting a respectable .265, but he’s a career .300 hitter. He has yet to hit ONE home run, leaving his OPS (On-Base Plus Slug Percentage) at a miserable .655. Thankfully C.J. Wilson has been sensation which has partially made up for Dan Haren’s sluggish start.
The morale of the story here is that there is a reason why ball game are played on baseball fields and not on paper. Even in America’s pastime, our country’s most “individual” team sport (if that makes any sense), we’re seeing that dream teams aren’t all that they’re chalked up to be. Brand name power doesn’t always translate into home run power or added pitch velocity, and that is a lesson these two big-spending ball clubs have learned halfway through baseball’s opening month.
But it doesn’t just apply to the diamond. Whether it’s the Heat in the NBA or the Eagles in the NFL, there are countless precedents to support the theory that you can’t buy yourself a championship. There is such a thing as team chemistry and that is part of the reason why some of the most quiet teams during free agency currently sit atop their divisions.
The Angels and Marlins still have five and a half months to get their act together, but it’s going to be an uphill battle. Los Angeles and Miami spent a combined $522.5 million on their five star acquisitions and so far that has bought them ten wins in twenty four games. It’s enough to make Billy Beane laugh. And his Athletics, by the way, are 6 and 7 with a combined team payroll of just 49.1 million.
NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
When Bryan isn’t writing for GuysNation, he is on Twitter! Follow him @bclienesch!