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OC Register: Joe Maddon hoping for Angels to add multiple starting pitchers


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Although the Angels’ improvements this winter haven’t touched the starting rotation, Joe Maddon believes help is on the way.

Maddon said during an hour-long Zoom session with the media on Friday that he’s talked to new General Manager Perry Minasian just about every day, and he’s encouraged by the starting pitchers the Angels have discussed.

“I like the names, and I’m optimistic that we can (make some additions),” Maddon said. “It would be plural. We probably do need more than one. That’s been the brunt of the conversation.”

Pitching, of course, has been the Angels’ downfall in recent years, both in the rotation and the bullpen. So far this winter both of Minasian’s major league pitching moves have been relievers: closer Raisel Iglesias and lefty Alex Claudio.

Although Maddon didn’t give the names of any of the pitchers on the Angels’ radar, he made it clear that he is expecting upgrades.

Maddon also suggested that, for all the talent they believe they have in young pitchers such as Jaime Barria, Patrick Sandoval, Jose Suarez, Dillon Peters, Reid Detmers and Chris Rodriguez, they don’t want to rely too heavily on unproven starters.

“What are you going to try to do? Are you going to try to win next year?” Maddon said. “Are guys absolutely ready to do something like that and take the ball every five or six days and compete consistently?

“Are they going to get you to that plus-.500 record? You want to go five over, and then 10 over and then 15 over and then 20 over to get to the point where you’re in the playoffs? Are they capable of doing that?”

The only locks for the Angels’ rotation at the moment would seem to be Dylan Bundy, Andrew Heaney and Griffin Canning.

Maddon suggested the Angels would use a six-man rotation. In the past, they’ve had an extra starter to accommodate Shohei Ohtani’s schedule, but in 2021 the Angels – and other teams, Maddon suggested – will also want to limit the workloads for their starters following the shortened 2020 season.

Ohtani was a frontline starter before he got hurt in June of 2018 and since then he’s only thrown a few innings. Maddon said Ohtani is currently throwing and healthy, and they’re hoping they don’t have to just plan on him “in pencil.”

“He’s doing really well,” Maddon said. “I want it to be in pen. It just depends on his health. Everything I’m hearing is good. Without any setback, which I don’t anticipate, I anticipate writing it in pen.

“Think about all those other names, with a couple added via acquisition somehow, I’m really excited about that.”

The Angels do have some needs beyond the rotation, too. Maddon said They would like to improve their corner outfield defense, “at least late in the game.”

Right fielder Jo Adell needed significant work defensively and offensively last season, and Maddon suggested that he would benefit from getting more time in the minors.

The absence of minor league games in 2020 meant that Adell didn’t get the typical preparation before his big league debut in August, and then he proceeded to hit .161 with a .478 OPS and 55 strikeouts in 124 at-bats.

“He needs more time in the minors, no question,” Maddon said. “I’m certain, given that opportunity, you’re going to see what you thought you were going to see in the first place.”

The former Angels No. 1 prospect could begin the 2021 season in the minors, although Maddon wouldn’t commit to that.

“We’ll see how it all plays out in camp,” he said.

The Angels are going to shortly begin making more concrete plans for spring training, although most things remain fluid because of the coronavirus. There has been talk about starting spring training and the season late, to allow more time for vaccinations that could permit the sport to operate in more of a pre-pandemic fashion.

For now, Maddon said he’s planning on a normal mid-February start, and they’ll adjust if necessary.

Maddon also said the Angels’ coaching staff will return with the same personnel who finished 2020. That does not include Jesus Feliciano, who left his role as first base coach for personal reasons in the first days of the season.

Meanwhile, the Angels continue to add to Minasian’s front office, with the hiring of Ray Montgomery from the Milwaukee Brewers and Brian Parker from the Dodgers.

Montgomery had been a special assistant to Brewers GM David Stearns, and previously a vice president in charge of amateur scouting. Parker was an international cross-checker for the Dodgers.

It’s unclear at this point what Montgomery and Parker’s titles will be with the Angels.

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On 12/18/2020 at 4:46 PM, AngelsWin.com said:

Maddon said during an hour-long Zoom session with the media on Friday that he’s talked to new General Manager Perry Minasian just about every day, and he’s encouraged by the starting pitchers the Angels have discussed.

“I like the names, and I’m optimistic that we can (make some additions),” Maddon said. “It would be plural. We probably do need more than one. That’s been the brunt of the conversation.”

Although Maddon didn’t give the names of any of the pitchers on the Angels’ radar, he made it clear that he is expecting upgrades.

Just wanted to highlight some of the things Maddon said back in December...

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Honestly, this article excited me when I first read it. When he was talking about upgrades to the rotation, and saying they need to be better, I perceived that as bringing in multiple pitchers that are better than Andrew Heaney and Griffin Canning, who are both in my mind number four starters, at least right now they are. Canning still has it in him to get significantly better.

So I had this impression that the Angels would be adding at least two starters that were number three's or better. And now here we are a month later, and we're throwing out names like Jose Quintana and whatnot and it just makes me shake my head. Just more of the same.

No one gets excited about a 6 man rotation with an injury prone ace, a newly discovered #2, who we have no idea if he can replicate it and a collection of four different #4/5 starters. I mean that distinctly leaves open the possibility that by the end of the season, the Angels will have a rotation of all backend starters, again. Injuries happen and we are always shocked by them. 

And it happens year after year. 

The team needs #3's or better, and they need those #3's or better, to be healthy and deliver what is expected. If that happens, then they're probably a playoff team.

If things break right and Bundy does it again and Ohtani stays healthy, and Canning develops, in conjunction with those mid rotation starters bring brought in, then the Angels should win the division.

But I wouldn't hold my breath on that. Angels haven't had that kind of luck more than once in the last decade.

Edited by Second Base
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I'm in for 1 of five options:

1: Sign Bauer then trade for Gray. fangraphs projections would have us in top 2 of baseball for offense and pitching and best overall as a team. 

2: Sign Bauer and trade for Musgrove AND Taillon. Again, tops in fangraphs projections

3: Sign Bauer and then trade Adams/Sandoval/Martinez for Contreras

4: Sign Realmuto/Hendricks and then trade for Musgrove and Taillon

5: Go all out and sign Bauer and Realmuto and then trade for Castillo 🤣 

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I’m all about Castillo and Gray both right now. To land two starters of their potential, with their salary and control, it would fit perfect into competing at a high level the next 2-3 years without risking any major payroll clogs like Bauer or Darvish could have. 

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9 minutes ago, totdprods said:

I’m all about Castillo and Gray both right now. To land two starters of their potential, with their salary and control, it would fit perfect into competing at a high level the next 2-3 years without risking any major payroll clogs like Bauer or Darvish could have. 

Plus we won't lose a pick which is always a plus.
I've loved this idea but it's a dream

The main issue is the prospect cost. I'd have to imagine this starts with Adell. And if we're taking 2 of their top arms then we'd have to include a pitcher of our own on this one. 
Canning? Likely. The Reds will part with Gray because of $ but Castillo is controlled and cheap. We'd have to make it look really nice for them. 

Unless it's a quantity over quality type thing....

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12 minutes ago, totdprods said:

I’m all about Castillo and Gray both right now. To land two starters of their potential, with their salary and control, it would fit perfect into competing at a high level the next 2-3 years without risking any major payroll clogs like Bauer or Darvish could have. 

Bye bye farm system, hello World Series. 

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16 minutes ago, angelsnationtalk said:

Plus we won't lose a pick which is always a plus.
I've loved this idea but it's a dream

The main issue is the prospect cost. I'd have to imagine this starts with Adell. And if we're taking 2 of their top arms then we'd have to include a pitcher of our own on this one. 
Canning? Likely. The Reds will part with Gray because of $ but Castillo is controlled and cheap. We'd have to make it look really nice for them. 

Unless it's a quantity over quality type thing....

I’d have no problem moving Adell in that deal, so long as we didn’t lose Marsh, Walsh, or Adams - and even then, I’d maybe be open to adding one of those depending who else was involved.

Canning - I’m sort of in same boat that I think @Stradling mentioned. His potential fragility leads me to be open to moving him in the right deal. If he was a big value to Cincy in the deal, where it was Adell, Canning, and a couple names that didn’t kill us, it would be a no brainer for me. I think back to Eppler’s first winter and how I wanted them to cash in on Richards at the time and deal him away. Canning gives me a similar feeling, as much as I hate to say it. 

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2 minutes ago, totdprods said:

I’d have no problem moving Adell in that deal, so long as we didn’t lose Marsh, Walsh, or Adams - and even then, I’d maybe be open to adding one of those depending who else was involved.

Canning - I’m sort of in same boat that I think @Stradling mentioned. His potential fragility leads me to be open to moving him in the right deal. If he was a big value to Cincy in the deal, where it was Adell, Canning, and a couple names that didn’t kill us, it would be a no brainer for me. I think back to Eppler’s first winter and how I wanted them to cash in on Richards at the time and deal him away. Canning gives me a similar feeling, as much as I hate to say it. 

you might as well get castillo out of your head.  

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11 minutes ago, Second Base said:

Bye bye farm system, hello World Series. 

Yup. But I feel that’s a big part of the risk/reward for someone like Minasian here. If it was a GM halfway through his deal or someone without Trout and Rendon on their roster, it’d be different.

But here you have a rookie GM who has a team very close and a decent inherited farm. He can try and do two things at once - win now by cashing in on prospects he had no part of, and start building a new farm to his liking. 

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1 minute ago, totdprods said:

Yup. But I feel that’s a big part of the risk/reward for someone like Minasian here. If it was a GM halfway through his deal or someone without Trout and Rendon on their roster, it’d be different.

But here you have a rookie GM who has a team very close and a decent inherited farm. He can try and do two things at once - win now by cashing in on prospects he had no part of, and start building a new farm to his liking. 

why would he have to dislike what was already built?  

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1 hour ago, totdprods said:

I’m all about Castillo and Gray both right now. To land two starters of their potential, with their salary and control, it would fit perfect into competing at a high level the next 2-3 years without risking any major payroll clogs like Bauer or Darvish could have. 

 

1 hour ago, angelsnationtalk said:

Plus we won't lose a pick which is always a plus.
 

The only way to get both without gutting the farm is to have the Reds throw in Castellanos and Moustakas, and not only would that still require losing a chunk of prospects, but it would raise payroll significantly - about +$40M for 2021, plus $100M guaranteed for Castellanos and Moustakas in 2021-23.

For instance, according to the Trade Value Simulator, here are some possible trades:

Castillo and Gray for Adell, Fletcher, Marsh, Adams. The Angels lose their three best prospects and their third best position player. Ugh. Clearly not happening.

Or a variant, swapping out Fletcher:

Castillo and Gray for Adell, Marsh, Adams, Detmers, Sandoval, Rodriguez, Jackson, ParisThat would be the biggest prospect haul in a trade ever made, I'd guess. Again, not happening.

If we add in Moustakas and Castellanos, you could do:

Castillo, Gray, Castellanos, Moustakas for Adell, Marsh, Sandoval, Jackson, Knowles. I suppose that is vaguely palatable, but I hate the idea of losing both Adell and Marsh, and then you still probably need another depth starter to make up for Sandoval.

Gray for Marsh is do-able, especially if the Angels throw in someone like Yan

Gray and Castellanos for Sandoval, Jackson, Knowles is probably more palatable, but you're taking on Castellanos' remaining 3/$48M guaranteed, and by adding +$25M for 2021 on those two players, there isn't a lot of wiggle room for a second starter, a catcher, and one or two more relievers.

Edited by Angelsjunky
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19 minutes ago, totdprods said:

Yup. But I feel that’s a big part of the risk/reward for someone like Minasian here. If it was a GM halfway through his deal or someone without Trout and Rendon on their roster, it’d be different.

But here you have a rookie GM who has a team very close and a decent inherited farm. He can try and do two things at once - win now by cashing in on prospects he had no part of, and start building a new farm to his liking. 

Flags fly forever. If gutting the farm puts the Angels in the World Series for the next three years, I make that deal every single time. Minasian can keep Swanson around, we've seen how his drafting and international focus has helped rebuild this farm system with premium athletes. 

My main concern is that I think you're underselling just how much it will take to get Gray AND Castillo. The market has thinned and there is no top tier starting pitching available for trade or even in FA outside of Bauer. 

For even one of them, you can probably start with one elite prospect and one fringe top 100 as well as a throw in and a lottery ticket. Then take that, and double it for both of them.

You're looking at Adell, Marsh, Kochanowicz, Rodriguez, Thaiss, Rengifo, Aquino and Knowles for the two of them. There's gutting the farm and then there's GUTTING THE FREAKIN FARM and I get the feeling yours is the latter. 

Not that there's anything wrong with that. You roll into the playoffs with a rotation of Castillo, Gray, Ohtani and Bundy, combined with the Angels lineup, and you're going to be the most dangerous team in the AL.

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I mean, if getting both is completely off the table, sure, I get it. You have to draw the line somewhere. If you can only get one of them, or the Musgrove and Odorizzi/Quintana combo with a good add or two between bullpen, RF, and RP, I think they’d be in good shape, and it would be realistic.

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1 hour ago, Second Base said:

Bye bye farm system, hello World Series. 

But at the end of the day would you do it? Gets Trout his World Series and allows Minasian to build the farm he wants?

If we're World Series favorites for 3 years that gives some time to jump start the farm a little bit. Not like 2014 where it was a one-hit wonder. 

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27 minutes ago, angelsnationtalk said:

But at the end of the day would you do it? Gets Trout his World Series and allows Minasian to build the farm he wants?

If we're World Series favorites for 3 years that gives some time to jump start the farm a little bit. Not like 2014 where it was a one-hit wonder. 

Yes, I do it. Trout, Ohtani and Rendon need to be playing in the fall classic in their primes.

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7 hours ago, Dochalo said:

why would he have to dislike what was already built?  

He doesn’t have to dislike it. He’s just afforded an opportunity to rebuild it.

As fans, it’s really easy for us to dream up that magical ideal of a long-term sustainable farm system, constantly producing and churning out talent to help the bigs or trade for players year in and year out. But for Minasian, it’s the first year of a four year job to, essentially, get Arte’s investment in Trout, Rendon, and to a lesser degree, Pujols and Upton to the big stage. It’s four years for him. We’re here for life. 

In that context, it’s fairly easy to see how Minasian *could* trade big pieces now to achieve his main charge, while knowing he has a couple years to work on replacing whatever he subtracts from the farm. 

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No one wanna offer to take on that Joey Votto albatross contract?  Yeah, I thought not.  But I think that would be the only way to get Castillo + Gray without giving up three of Adell, Marsh, Canning, or Fletcher.

Okay, I'm done talking about Castillo + Gray now.  Forever.

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As AJ pointed out, if the Angels take on contracts like Moustakas and Castellanos, it significantly lowers the prospect capital, and really it would be beneficial for both sides.

The Angels are immediately, on paper at least, the best team in the AL. The pitching staff puts not one, but two aces up front, under team control for three years at an affordable price, and it improves an already strong offense. 

But it also maxes out payroll and weakens the farm system. 

For the Reds, it gives them a blank slate financially, which is a priority for their team. It also injects a prospects capital into the Reds system that jumpstarts their rebuild and shortens the time between contending by at least a couple years. 

But there are reasons for not making that deal on both sides. For the Reds, no one in the NL Central is even pretending to try to compete, and they legitimately could contend next year if this keeps up. And for the Angels, giving up prospects, and maxing out payroll is a Dombrowski level gamble.

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1 hour ago, Second Base said:

As AJ pointed out, if the Angels take on contracts like Moustakas and Castellanos, it significantly lowers the prospect capital, and really it would be beneficial for both sides.

The Angels are immediately, on paper at least, the best team in the AL. The pitching staff puts not one, but two aces up front, under team control for three years at an affordable price, and it improves an already strong offense. 

But it also maxes out payroll and weakens the farm system. 

For the Reds, it gives them a blank slate financially, which is a priority for their team. It also injects a prospects capital into the Reds system that jumpstarts their rebuild and shortens the time between contending by at least a couple years. 

But there are reasons for not making that deal on both sides. For the Reds, no one in the NL Central is even pretending to try to compete, and they legitimately could contend next year if this keeps up. And for the Angels, giving up prospects, and maxing out payroll is a Dombrowski level gamble.

yes.  it would essentially mean that you can do nothing else for 3 years.  And you would no longer have much of a farm system to supplement if something does go wrong.  

And I agree that a .500 record could win the NL central.  

I do think Gray is a reasonable target.  But not Castillo and certainly not both.  

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10 hours ago, Lazorko Saves said:

No one wanna offer to take on that Joey Votto albatross contract?  Yeah, I thought not.  But I think that would be the only way to get Castillo + Gray without giving up three of Adell, Marsh, Canning, or Fletcher.

Okay, I'm done talking about Castillo + Gray now.  Forever.

 

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