The $331.5-million free-agent splurge that netted slugger Albert Pujols and pitcher C.J. Wilson didn't merely transform the Angels from a second-place — and, in some ways, second-rate — club to a World Series contender.

It also sent expectations soaring, owner Arte Moreno delivering a clear message with his checkbook that he wants World Series championships, not just playoff berths.

That means the 2012 Angels shouldn't be measured next to the 2011 Angels, who struggled to score runs and hold leads and failed to reach the playoffs for the second straight year.