The Los Angeles Angels officially introduced Ron Washington as their new manager on Wednesday afternoon, more than a month after severing ties with Phil Nevin. The 71-year-old Washington will be the Angels' sixth full-time manager since the start of the 2018 season. They haven't recorded a winning season during that span, and you can forget about a playoff appearance.
Nevertheless, Washington let it be known on Wednesday that the Angels intend to compete for an American League West crown in 2024. "Once we get things together and we get these guys together in spring training," he said during his introductory press conference, "our whole focus is gonna be to run the West down and you can take that to the bank and deposit it."
Now, bear in mind, Washington's job entails rallying his players and compelling them to play with the utmost focus and energy. Bear in mind, too, that there's a whole lot of offseason to go between now and Opening Day. With that established, no trustworthy financial institution would deposit any document alleging the Angels have a real chance of winning the division.
The Angels have won 73 games in each of the last two seasons, and that was with free agent Shohei Ohtani, who is widely expected to sign elsewhere. Mike Trout isn't getting younger, and Anthony Rendon never seems to get healthier. The Angels have perhaps the worst farm system in all of baseball as well. In theory, general manager Perry Minasian could work some magic through free agency and trades. In practice, that's easier said than done -- especially given that Minasian's track record does not indicate he's capable of creating an additional 20 wins out of thin air. (Who is, really?)
The old Bill Veeck saying is that you're either selling wins or you're selling hope. Washington was doing his best to sell hope on Wednesday. Just don't expect any return on investment.