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OC Register: Angels’ Joe Maddon said he did not suspect Andrelton Simmons suffered with depression last year


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Andrelton Simmons’ revelations of the mental struggles he was enduring last year came as a surprise to Joe Maddon.

The Angels manager on Sunday morning said he didn’t realize that Simmons was having issues with depression, and even thoughts of suicide, which were ultimately what led him to opt out of the final week of the 2020 Angels season.

“I never recognized that,” the Angels manager said before the workout in Tempe, Ariz. “He and I would talk often and he was always upbeat. He’s extremely bright, engaging in our conversations, so there’s a situation where I would never have guessed, based on our interaction.”

Maddon said a case like Simmons is why he feels it’s important for teams to have staff members who specialize in such issues. The Angels have a mental skills coach, Will Lenzer.

“Maybe a guy like Andrelton is not going to open up to me, his manager, but he’s definitely going to open up to a guy who’s not necessarily in uniform, who he’s created a relationship with, a bond of trust,” Maddon said. “That’s where I think you could do a lot of good work with your players in general, or just employees in general.”

Simmons opened up earlier this month in response to a follow-up question about his opt-out from last September. He said that the pandemic had contributed to his depression. He said he’d been haunted by thoughts of suicide when he was younger, and they returned during the darkest moments of 2020.

Maddon said Simmons’ admission was a reminder that mental health should not be dismissed or minimized.

“So much time is spent on the physical side of this game,” Maddon said. “It’s important, but I so believe success is controlled by the mind. If you’re talking about success as a player on the field, I think as the years progress, say about 25 percent of your work should be physical and maybe 75 should be mental. Just talking about the game itself, how that spills over to just you and your life and how you react to the day. I really think it’s important to have a lot of conversations.”

Maddon said there should be no stigma that prevents people who are struggling from coming forward to get help.

“The world’s become very complicated,” he said. “It really has. As we all know, there was a time and probably still is in certain’s people’s mindset, an indicator of weakness if you admit to a situation or problem like that. And of course we know that’s the farthest thing from the truth.”

THINNER PEÑA

Maddon said Felix Peña is “unrecognizable” after he lost about 15 to 20 pounds over the winter.

Peña had a breakthrough season as a starter for the Angels in 2019 and in 2020 he became one of the Angels’ best late-inning relievers.

Maddon said this year they plan to use him as a two- or three-inning reliever, but they would be comfortable moving him back to the late innings if his performance warrants that.

“He is kind of a utility pitcher,” Maddon said. “He can do a lot of different things.”

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2 hours ago, AngelsWin.com said:

Maddon said this year they plan to use him as a two- or three-inning reliever, but they would be comfortable moving him back to the late innings if his performance warrants that.

“He is kind of a utility pitcher,” Maddon said. “He can do a lot of different things.”

This is very interesting.

So if Peña isn't going to be used as a high leverage reliever, that leaves Iglesias, Mayers, and Buttrey(?) as the high leverage options.

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8 minutes ago, Trendon said:

This is very interesting.

So if Peña isn't going to be used as a high leverage reliever, that leaves Iglesias, Mayers, and Buttrey(?) as the high leverage options.

I know most view the later innings as being the higher leverage ones but I'm a big believer of using the shutdown guy when he's most useful like they used to do with Shields.  That's not to say that I think Pena is that guy, but given his ability to stretch out a bit he may end being one of the more valuable relievers.  I think Sandoval could also be that guy.

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3 minutes ago, Inside Pitch said:

I know most view the later innings as being the higher leverage ones but I'm a big believer of using the shutdown guy when he's most useful like they used to do with Shields.  That's not to say that I think Pena is that guy, but given his ability to stretch out a bit he may end being one of the more valuable relievers.  I think Sandoval could also be that guy.

Yeah, I do think he will be valuable, regardless of what role he's in.

I just worry about their lack of high leverage options. I only really feel confident in Iglesias and Mayers. So someone needs to step up.

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2 minutes ago, Trendon said:

Yeah, I do think he will be valuable, regardless of what role he's in.

I just worry about their lack of high leverage options. I only really feel confident in Iglesias and Mayers. So someone needs to step up.

Yup.  Lol, I'm not even sure Mayers is someone that can be looked at as automatic.  As @Blarglikes to say, relievers are weird.

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Maybe they’re thinking if the rotation stabilizes, Barria can sort of take Noe/Pena’s multi-inning versatility role and Pena can slide into more of a high leverage slot if any of the ‘big three’ relievers falter.

I’m starting to see a lot of layers of versatility Minasian built with this roster and if Maddon is all he’s cracked up to be, it could work out really well. 

I still think getting Sandoval, Rodriguez, and Yan into the pen could be a great thing too. Worried about Sandoval’s makeup, Rodriguez’ durability, and Yan simply won’t have the command to start, but all three could be weapons right out of the gate. 

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I think we all recognize that innings are going to covered a little differently in 2021 than they conventionally have been. Starters will need extra time to build up that stamina, more pitchers will likely be needed, depth will be challenged. 

It'll be important to have multiple guys in a bumper that can get 6-9 outs of the situation arises. That's why I think guys like Barria, Pena, Sandoval and Suarez will be at such a premium in 2021. With the exception of Barria, I'm not sure any of them will start in the majors in 2021 and beyond, but I do believe all will be valuable commodities in 2021 and beyond as the game adapts to 15 out starters. 

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1 minute ago, Slegnaac said:

Maddon said he doesn't strictly adhere to the twice through the lineup paradigm?

I thought he said something like that in a recent interview.

Well even if he says he doesn’t his actions more times than not say he does. 

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