I live on the East Coast. I have very little insight into the goings on out West except for what I read (a decent amount). However, I am at a complete loss trying to explain why the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have only been able to lock up one free agent of note since 2007: Torii Hunter.
Sure, they have signed some decent relief pitchers - Brian Fuentes, Fernando Rodney, Darren Oliver, Scott Downs, Hisanori Takahashi - and overpaid a number of aging veterans - Bobby Abreu, Hideki Matsui, Joel Pineiro - but the team that has wanted to make a major splash each offseason has come up virtually empty.
In 2008, they reportedly made runs at CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Adam Dunn, and Derek Lowe. All four rejected any deal that was offered. The team also watched K-Rod flee for "greener" pastures in Flushing.
In 2009, the Angels reportedly went after Jason Bay and Matt Holliday without success while watching Chone Figgins (Seattle) and John Lackey (Boston) depart as free agents.
Now in 2010, they missed on Carl Crawford, Adrian Beltre, and Cliff Lee, three guys that would have helped their team immensely.
Truthfully, I have very few guesses.
Organization: They have made the playoffs in six of the last nine season, including winning the World Series in 2002. No problems here.
Division: They play in the AL West, a division with only four teams, meaning they have a 25% chance to qualify for the playoffs in any given year - better odds than any other division in baseball. Sounds attractive to me.
Owner: Arte Moreno has given the impression that he's willing to spend money. That works.
Manager: Mike Scioscia seems like a players' kind of manager (runners have green lights at all times). I'm in.
Players: Despite some roster turnover, the players have been good enough to win 89 or more games in six of the last seven season. Great.
Location: Disneyland is within five miles, and LA is within 25 miles. No problems here... unless you hate children.
Even the Nats have been able to woo top talent. Anyone have an idea what's going on here?