Angels Rumors: Will a Jake Arrieta-Joe Maddon reunion be considered?
By Alfonso Cerna
After impressing in his bullpen session last Friday, teams have shown interest in free-agent pitcher Jake Arrieta.
It’s unknown if the Angels were on of the teams in attendance, as is the uncertainty if the Halos will add another starting pitcher.
On Monday, the Angels traded for pitcher Alex Cobb, essentially completing the projected Halos rotation in 2021.
Angels 2021 Rotation Options:
- RHP Dylan Bundy
- LHP Andrew Heaney
- LHP Jose Quintana
- RHP Griffin Canning
- RHP Alex Cobb
- RHP Shohei Ohtani
- LHP Patrick Sandoval
- RHP Jaime Barria
Outside of the bottom three on that list, I think Bundy, Heaney, Quintana, Canning, and Cobb are all safe bets for a projected five-man rotation. I don’t think this should rule out the Angels adding another starter.
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It’s always possible general manager Perry Minasian signs Jake Odorizzi, James Paxton, or Arrieta to open up a trade possibility for one of the current starting pitchers.
While Minasian recently said he believes the Halos are in a ‘decent spot’, he also explained owner Arte Moreno is willing to add to the team if the situation ‘makes sense’.
Would Arrieta make sense for the Angels? The Trevor Bauer ship has officially sailed, and if the Halos swing and miss on Odorizzi and Paxton, I think Arrieta could make sense for the right price.
From 2014-2017, Arrieta was unhittable at times with the Cubs. The right-hander posted a 2.67 ERA to go along with 1.029 WHIP and 9.06 strikeouts per nine innings in that span. Mixed in between those years was an NL CY Young Award, two no-hitters in less than eight months, and a 2016 World Series Title.
Arrieta was not the same pitcher with the Phillies the past three seasons. From 2018-2020, Arrieta battled nagging injuries while putting up a 4.36 ERA, a 1.39 WHIP, and 7.14 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Halos currently have ~$20 million left before hitting their luxury tax penalty. If the asking price for Arrieta is too high, I have serious doubts the Angels would consider bringing him in.
The Angels have brought in three of Joe Maddon’s former players this offseason, could Jake Arrieta be next in line?
The only factor I see where Arrieta plays for the Halos is if Joe Maddon wants it to happen. On Thursday, the Angels traded for Dexter Fowler to add outfield depth. Fowler is coming off a poor statistical season, but clearly, there is something about his presence Maddon and Minasian want.
"“We want a certain type of player and Joe and I think are really aligned in this,” Minasian said. “We want a certain type of makeup, a certain type of mentality. The players that we’ve acquired that have had past experience with him in putting his stamp on those players obviously make them more desirable. He’s shown that he has the ability to get the most out of players. … Whether it was Alex or Jose or Dexter, they all said the same thing. Can’t wait to have Joe in the dugout as their manager and play for this club.”"
Arrieta certainly fits that mold. The 34-year old has pitched on the biggest stages in his career, which is not something you can say about the remaining free-agent starters.
I think his most dominant years are behind him, so it’s a matter of how much Arrieta has left in the tank for a few more solid seasons.
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At this point, I’m convinced the Angels are playing it safe for 2021. Unless they plan on signing Paxton or Odorizzi for the long-term, I don’t see the harm in adding Arrieta to the surplus of one-year rental players.