LA Angels 2021 spring training guide: who gets the final rotation spots?

Alex Cobb (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Alex Cobb (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Angels
Jose Quintana (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Jose Quintana LHP

Heading into the offseason, optimism among Angels fans was at an all-time high. The Halos appeared as the front runner for NL Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman teased that a signing was a possibility, and they were rumored to make a run at acquiring Joe Musgrove. Flash forward a few months, Bauer has signed with the Dodgers, Stroman accepted his qualifying offer from the Mets, and the Padres traded for Musgrove. Yet again, the Angels have missed out on acquiring a big name for their rotation.

With the Angels preparing for their first spring training game later today, it is looking all the more likely that their headlining rotation addition will be Jose Quintana. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of the signing. I think he will bring a veteran presence to the pitching staff and has a history of durability and the ability to pitch deep into games. Of his eight full-length seasons, he eclipsed 170 innings seven times and 200 innings four times.

Jose Quintana has the most experience and consistency among the Angels starters.

That type of stability has been desperately missing from the Angels in years past. There’s no doubt this signing will help to improve the team. My only concern is that this is not the big splash the Angels needed to make.

Quintana’s track record looks like he would be a lock to make the rotation. He spent his first six seasons with the Chicago White Sox, where he pitched to the elite tune of a 3.51 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, 3.53 FIP, and a 7.6 K/9. In 2016 he was named to the AL All-Star team and finished 10th in AL Cy Young voting.

During the 2017 season, in a bid to defend their World Series title, the Chicago Cubs acquired Quintana for four minor leaguers, including top prospects Dylan Cease and Eloy Jimenez. Since joining the Cubs, he has been solid but has shown signs of steady regression.

Jose Quintana Last 4 Seasons:

  • 2017: (32 starts) 188.2 IP, 4.49 ERA, 1.224 WHIP, 3.68 FIP, 9.9 K/9
  • 2018: (32 starts) 174.1 IP, 4.03 ERA, 1.319 WHIP, 4.43 FIP, 8.2 K/9
  • 2019: (32 games, 31 starts) 171.0 IP, 4.68 ERA, 1.386 WHIP, 3.80 FIP, 8.0 K/9
  • 2020: (4 games, 1 start) 10.0 IP 4.50 ERA, 1.300 WHIP, 2.99 FIP, 10.8 K/9

Aside from the 2020 season in which he missed time due to a left thumb and lat injuries, each of those seasons for Quintana are solid. It is just worth pointing out the downward trend heading into spring training.

It is also worth mentioning that in 2020, Quintana made four appearances, only one of which was as a starter. Although the Angels signed him to be a member of the rotation, they could feel comfortable moving him to the bullpen if he is outperformed this spring.