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Opinion: The Angels Had No Excuse For Not Signing Blake Snell

Any platitudes about doing "whatever it takes to put a contending team on the field" suddenly ring hollow.

Rare is the offseason when a reigning Cy Young award winner is available, at age 31, on what amounts to a one-year contract.

Rarer still is that pitcher available to a team with a long history of spending to the luxury-tax threshold, sitting on approximately $50 million to spend before incurring a tax.

Even rarer: a team that just lost its number-1 starter has a number-1 starter dangling in free agency long into March, and reportedly willing to go from a postseason contender to a team that hasn't played October baseball in 10 years.

Yes, Blake Snell was a perfect fit on the Angels, who had no excuse for not handing him a blank check. What was the worst that could have happened? The loyal fans watch their team miss the postseason for another year — or another 10?

Instead Snell will soon become a San Francisco Giant, leaving the Angels with ... the payroll flexibility to focus on Jordan Montgomery instead?

One can only hope. Otherwise, the optics appear even worse. The New York Yankees and Houston Astros, two perennial playoff contenders, are suddenly staring at injuries to starters Gerrit Cole and Jose Urquidy, respectively.

By signing Snell, the Giants effectively swiped one of the remaining seats left in the game of musical chairs known as the 2024 offseason. The Yankees and Astros have motive to be aggressive. The Angels still need a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher, and now there's only one left. 

Snell is a two-time Cy Young Award winner with ties to the West Coast dating to his childhood in Washington state. Montgomery, a postseason hero during the Texas Rangers' surprise World Series run last fall, is not. 

After losing out on Snell, the Angels have no choice but to pivot. They can pivot to Montgomery, another Scott Boras client with a shorter track record of success. Or they can pivot to a new narrative — one absent any platitudes about doing "whatever it takes to put a contending team on the field."

With all due respects to Griffin Canning, Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers, Tyler Anderson and Chase Silseth, they would have to punch far above their collective weight to lead the Angels back to the postseason for the first time since 2014.

Even signing Montgomery would feel like a consolation prize. The Angels had reportedly been in contact with Boras on Snell until Mike Trout's pleas to owner Arte Moreno were the only thread connecting the two sides.

Where do the Angels go from here? Most likely, right where they left off last season.