Angels Rumors: Joe Maddon has a secret he isn’t telling
By Luke Graham
Angels manager Joe Maddon has been reported as talking to a free agent. But who?
Maria Torres of the LA Times tweeted out earlier that Los Angeles Angels manager, Joe Maddon has spoken to a free agent. However, Joe Maddon has not stated who that free agent is. So, let’s just go ahead and speculate.
Trevor Bauer is the name everyone want’s to talk about, so let’s just get to it. The 2020 national league Cy Young winner is the hottest player on the free-agent market. He grew up in California and played his college ball at UCLA.
Bauer led the national league in ERA (1.73), complete games (2), shutouts (2), ERA+(276) WHIP (0.795), and H9 (5.1). While his complete games were only seven-inning games with the doubleheader rule this year, he still put on a show every time he went out there. Bauer also had a great playoff game against Atlanta in the first round going 7.2 innings, punching out 12, and allowing only two hits.
Bauer also brings an exciting personality along with him. He is big on self-marketing and even bigger on calling out the commissioner to let players market themselves even more. He and Joe Maddon should mesh well and it makes sense they would be talking. The Angels need pitching and Trevor Bauer is the best available.
The Angels were reportedly a close second in the James McCann race before he ended up signing with the New York Mets. JT Realmuto is the most sought after position player in this class. He would add his defensive abilities, yes. But his bat in this lineup could make it extremely dangerous.
In 2019, JT Realmuto played in 145 of 162 games. He slashed .275/.328/.493 and an OPS of .820. That year, he also was named to his second consecutive all-star team and took home a gold glove and a silver slugger. JT will come at a high price, but with Albert Pujols coming off the books after next season and having so many guys under team control through at least 2024, like Walsh, Ohtani, and Fletcher, it would be worth the risk.
Realmuto was traded to the Phillies from the Marlins and top-ranked pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez headlined the deal. The deal was done to push the Phillies into the postseason but that never happened. As a matter of fact, Sanchez actually pitched against the Cubs this year in the playoffs while JT was watching from home. Joining a roster with guys like Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon with an already ignited fire to make a postseason run would be great fun for Angel fans.
Jake Odorizzi is coming off of a season where he just pitched in 13.2 innings due to nagging injuries such as a finger or back pain. His 2019 however was an all-star season. He posted a career-best FIP of 3.36 and a career-high in wins with 15. Odorizzi isn’t the hottest name available but the Angels need pitching and Odorizzi would step into the one or two slots immediately.
While Jake Arrieta has struggled in recent years, he has a history with manager Joe Maddon as part of the 2016 World Series Chicago Cubs championship. He also won a Cy Young in 2015 under Joe Maddon.
Between his 4.36 ERA and 22-23 record during his time with the Phillies, Arrieta could come over as a bargain. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Angels take a flyer on him. After all, they did start Julio Teheran nine times last year.
Yadier Molina makes sense for a couple of reasons. For one, he and Albert Pujols shared a lot of great years together in St. Louis, and given the hug they had in Alberts return to St. Louis in 2019, I’d say they are still close. Also, Molina is one of the best in the game even at this age at working with his pitchers. If they cannot get a guy like Realmuto in, maybe they can at least get a guy in who can work with the young arms they do have.
Another interesting fact is he has already coached both of his brothers. During his tenure in Tampa, Jose Molina caught for Maddon in 2012-2014. His other brother, Bengie played for the Angels from 1998-2005. Maddon was originally with The Angels from 1994-2005 serving as a bench coach and first base coach and even an interim manager in 1996 and 1999.
Truth is, it could be anybody. Even if they sign one of these guys we may never know who Joe Maddon talked to. One thing is for certain though, they need pitching or a catcher who can at least straighten out the pitchers.