Angels manager, Joe Maddon, spoke with the media on Friday covering multiple topics that related to the 2020 season and where he sees the team going forward.
During the meeting with reporters, Maddon addressed the elephant in the room regarding the Angels struggles during the short 60 game season, the pitching. The Angels pitching staff was absolutely horrible in 2020, there’s no way around it, other than a revival year by Dylan Bundy who had an ERA of 3.29 across 65.2 innings pitched, the next leader in ERA came from Jaime Barria who posted 3.62 while only making 5 starts and 2 appearances out of the bullpen.
Bottom line is that they need to figure things out internally and Joe Maddon alluded to this in the meeting stating:
"“For me it’s about building a better pitching method, pitching philosophy internally. Beyond that, some infrastructural things just for the guys downstairs, which we’re working on right now.”"
There’s no doubt that the change is coming for long term success which Angels fans should be excited about as they have made multiple front office hires since Perry Minasian took over. That long term success can also translate to short term success as well with a new pitching philosophy as Maddon had mentioned which may help unlock the potential some of these starters have.
It’s going to be a long process as the problem isn’t as direct as just “pitch better” whatever Maddon and his staff are coming up with, has to be beneficial for pitchers that have good stuff, but can’t translate it to big league outs. Pitchers like Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning, and Patrick Sandoval need to benefit from the change that’s coming, otherwise it might look like the same as last season.
With free agency still going on for many players, Angels fans have been trying to convince arguably the best pitcher on the market in Trevor Bauer. While Bauer can no doubt help the team and make their pitching look a lot better, they need to count on starters from the season prior to step up as Bauer won’t instantly solve their pitching woes. Maddon has stated previously that the team would likely need two additional starters, and putting your eggs all in one basket might not be the Angels strategy in regards to landing Bauer.
So, it may make sense for the Angels to go for cheaper options with a new pitching philosophy in mind and having to rely on their young starters to step up which they have failed to do previously.
Some fans might not be so keen on just settling for landing two sub-par starters either through free agency or trade, but if it allows the team to make other moves while still implementing a new philosophy, then it might not be such a bad idea. We know Angels owner Arte Moreno likes to make the big splash when it comes to free agent signings, but with Minasian now in charge and seeing all the moves he’s making in the front office, it looks like Moreno is letting Minasian run the show.
A new future could be on the way for the Angels in terms of both long term and short term success with a new pitching philosophy being worked on by Joe Maddon and his staff and the front office under Perry Minasian developing and scouting players. It will be up to individuals themselves on whether they believe in their ideas and stick through the process that is being done in Anaheim.