Actually, the Angels problem hasn't really been spending, at least not lately. They've just been buying all of the wrong modestly-priced guys (Harvey, Cozart, etc.), and largely failing at drafting and developing. (With a sprinkle of injury decimation at times too.)
If anything, they've probably been a bit too conservative in their spending, for their market, and should have gone big on another guy like Corbin, at least. They still should be able to absorb a deal like Pujols and compete.
When you get down to the root of any team with roster issues. It's my opinion that development is almost 100% the heart of the problem.
My opinion is in line with yours... Development is the primary issue with the Angels. The thing that I will question is exactly how much of that development issue is self inflicted? Did they commit to spending because they didn't develop or did they not develop because they committed to spending? I don't know but either way... they didn't develop and if you don't develop... it kinda forces you to spend.
It sure looks like Eppler has done a great job on the farm but to me... the question still remains on how they will use these improved farm resources going forward. Will they trade it for more Upton types or will they actually use it to stabilize future payroll in an attempt to establish a young core?
Teams need 600K talent... they can't FA across the diamond with expensive 30 plus downside players because they leave themselves no wiggle room and every team has a budget. The 600k talent allows you to go big on Trout and Machado's without breaking the budget. The Red Sox built their core. The Dodgers built their core. The Cubs built their core and they spent money. The Angels tried to buy it and ran plum out of resources and now I'm hearing rumors that they will be targeting Cole. Which is just more of the same trip on the U.S.S Good Money After Bad.
Will Fletcher and Rengifo get playing time if La Stella and Cozart are healthy? Lot's of questions yet to be answered and I'll be watching. Hiring Joe Maddon was a step in the right direction because he has shown the ability to produce 600K talent and utilize it. The hiring of Ausmus was the exact opposite of Joe Maddon. Is Moreno a bigger force in the decision making than Eppler or Maddon could ever be.
If I was the GM... I'm not... but if I was and Moreno gave me some breathing room. I'd tear it down to Trout and Ohtani and take my lumps for a couple of years so I have a chance at delivering a title contender before Trout's contract is up and Trout won't play for a title contender if they think adding Cole to an already astronomical payroll with multiple holes on the mound and no depth across the diamond and these things will require even more money to fix.
I love Maddon... just don't know what he walked into. A roster mess with expectations is a bad combination.
I'd love to have Trout... but, the Twins need pitching. The Angels have trapped themselves into keeping Trout with the contract extension.
It feels really good to say that the Twins are in much better shape than the Angels are.
A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".
President of the "Baseball Player Positional Flexibility" Club
Strike Zone Automation Advocate
I'm not a starting 9 guy!!!