In Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, an old fisherman goes 84 days without catching any fish. On the 85th day, he ventures further than he's ever gone and snags the big one, an 18 foot marlin.
Trying to bring his catch in, sharks begin to pick at the Marlin and by the time the old man returns to the village, only the skeleton of the fish remains.
In many way, the Los Angeles Angels are like the old man. Two years ago, they tried to re-sign first baseman Mark Teixeira, only to be outbid by the New York Yankees. This offseason, they eyed Tampa Bay Rays speedster Carl Crawford, only to once again be outbid, this time by the Boston Red Sox.
To make up for not landing their "marlin," they have instead countered by landing smaller fish in the sea, which have included the likes of outfielders Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells, along with pitchers Dan Haren, Joel Pineiro and Scott Kazmir.
For all intent and purposes however, the Angels already may have the biggest fish in the sea in Mike Trout, MLB.com's No. 1 rated prospect in baseball.
Trout is considered to be a five tool baseball player and has even drawn comparisons to Mickey Mantle himself.
Although the Angels lost out on Crawford, they traded for Blue Jays outfielder Vernon Wells, who last season hit 31 home runs with 88 RBI. Wells was acquired in exchange for catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera.
Will the Angels retake the AL West in 2011?
The Rangers lost their best pitcher Cliff Lee to Philadelphia and outside of C.J. Wilson, the Rangers pitching staff isn't really impressive, at least on paper.
The Athletics, on the other hand, may have the best pitching staff in the American League West, but they lack offense.
Of the entire AL West, the Angels offer the best balance at both the mound and plate. Jered Weaver lead the league last season in strikeouts, Ervin Santana lead the team in wins with 17 and Dan Haren dropped his ERA by almost two full points when he left Arizona, from 4.60 to 2.87.
Kendry Morales, who broke his leg after a walk-off grand slam back in May, is expected to return to the lineup this season. Morales and his offensive outburst from 2009, which included 34 HRs, 108 RBI and a .306 batting average, were missed in last season's downfall that saw the Angels finish in third place.
In the end, what may determine the AL West will not be who landed the biggest fish in the offseason, but rather, who stays healthy and is consistent throughout the season.
If all the parts and pieces that the Angels have put together over the last couple of seasons can stay healthy and play consistent baseball, the Angels may do what they've done three times in the last five seasons, win the AL West.