Yankees and Angels have reshaped the baseball landscape

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Yankees /

The Yankees are no strangers to big deals and big signings. But their recent improvements over the course of the season and since have contributed to a considerable shift in the 2018 baseball power structure.

The Yankees signing of Giancarlo Stanton sent shock waves through MLB. It was the surprising second hit of a one-two punch, coming hard on the heels of the Shohei Ohtani decision. His unexpected choice of the Angels, along with Derek Jeter’s first big move, quickened the pace of evolution in baseball.

Now, the centers of power are shifting for what could be a decade.

Out west, the Angels have been reinvigorated. It wasn’t long ago that the Anaheim nine thought they were building a super team. Once owner Arte Moreno realized just how good Mike Trout was, he rushed to surround him with talent.

Soon, the middle of the order featured three of the most feared hitters in the game: Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.

But Hamilton had demons and Pujols an unknown Achilles heel. Josh was a bust, and Albert was reduced from maybe better than Lou Gehrig to a very productive power bat. Still, Pujols stopped being a superstar almost as soon as he arrived in Disney’s backyard.

And just as the hitting disintegrated, the pitching staff got old and ineffective seemingly overnight. The team finished in second place last year but was never a real playoff threat.

It seemed to baseball observers that Moreno was out of championship moves and the team’s fate was to lose Trout to free agency after the 2020 season, never again to threaten for a title until after his departure.

Not anymore. Not since Ohtani chose the Angels as his landing spot. Mr. Moreno sees this as his one last golden opportunity to catch lightning in a bottle. And that’s why an Angels team that might have made only small moves is suddenly the most active team on the trade market.