With new manager Joe Maddon in tow for the LA Angels, having familiar faces could make the skipper’s transition easier.
So, why not sign some of Joe Maddon’s former players? For the LA Angels, they have a large pool to choose from considering Maddon has managed for 14 seasons.
These five players could be in play for the Angels in the upcoming offseason, and it’d make a lot of sense for them to join the movement in Anaheim.
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1.) Troy Percival
Wait, what? The last time Troy Percival threw a pitch in the MLB was 2009 with the Tampa Bay Rays, with Maddon as the manager. Since then, Percival has been the head coach of the UC Riverside baseball team.
But maybe a promotion to the MLB is in store for the Halos’ former closer. While they did just fill the position of pitching coach by bringing in former Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway, there’s always a need for coaching at the MLB level, and Callaway will need an assistant.
So while this one won’t be a current player bringing back the one guy who closed out the only Angels’ World Series would certainly build excitement with the fans.
2.) Cole Hamels
Okay, now onto the former Maddon-ites that will actually be on the field in 2020. Cole Hamels has been an extremely productive pitcher in the twilight of his career. The past 1.5 years have been spent under Maddon with the Cubs, where Hamels found a ton of success.
Whether he looks for a one-year contract or something over the next 2-3 seasons, the Angels should be interested in acquiring his services.
3.) Martin Maldonado
While it’s true that he only spent 4 games with Maddon and the Cubs in 2019, bringing back Martín Maldonado is a move every Angels fans would love. The defensive genius is once again chasing a World Series with the Houston Astros, as the team is one win away at the time of this writing.
While he isn’t a star such as Yasmani Grandal (who would be a great addition for the Angels as they look to expand payroll), Maldonado brings what the Angels have always loved in a catcher back to Anaheim.
Defense, defense, and some more defense. Obviously Maldonado’s bat isn’t the best in the league, but bringing him back to a clubhouse filled with players who already has relationships with him would be great to see. And, hey, at least he’s had a cup of coffee with Joe Maddon.
4.) Brandon Morrow
In 2019, the Angels’ bullpen was structurally sound and one of the better units in baseball. However, while Hansel Robles was phenomenal in his own right, the bullpen lacked that true go-to age out of the bullpen.
Maddon’s right-hand man in the bullpen in Chicago was Brandon Morrow, and if he hits free agency, that could continue in Anaheim.
Morrow posted a 1.47 ERA in 35 appearances this season, and the Cubs will have to decide whether they want to keep Morrow for $12 million or let him walk into free agency.
If Brandon Morrow does see the open market this offseason, Joe Maddon and the Angels should come running for him.
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5.) Kris Bryant
Okay, this one is a tad bit complicated. As of now, Maddon’s former best player is under contract in Chicago for two more seasons. With that much control, it’s unlikely the Cubs would part ways with him.
However, Kris Bryant had his grievance with the Cubs heard last week regarding his service time manipulation. If he wins the battle in court, Bryant would be slated for free agency following the 2020 season rather than the 2021 campaign.
That would change things drastically for the Cubs. With so little payroll left to spend, they could decide to trade Bryant for a historically huge package of prospects if he winds up hitting free agency next offseason.
If he does get put on the market, the Angels should come calling. While Jo Adell’s name would likely be floated around, Eppler and Co. might have enough ammunition to pull off a trade for Bryant while keeping Adell.
Having managed two teams over 14 seasons, Joe Maddon has seen his fair share of studs play for him. These five stand out, and would look great in Angel red alongside Maddon in 2020.