Maddon implores Angels to improve rotation for 2022: 'This can't continue'
Despite a potential MVP campaign from two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angels are about to miss the postseason for a seventh straight year. Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged this trend needs to be nipped in the bud.
"This can’t continue to go on," Maddon said Wednesday, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. "We can’t annually be in this position. This organization is better than that. We deserve better than that. We have to go out and earn it."
The path to taking that next step, according to Maddon, is for the club to make significant upgrades to the starting rotation and not be forced to rely on players like top prospect Reid Detmers to anchor the pitching staff ahead of schedule.
"What’s your agenda next year? Is it to participate in the American League West and hopefully, possibly make it to the end and play a game in October?" Maddon said. "That should never be the situation. My point is, we have to get guys that we think are ready to win right now, in that rotation, in order to get to where you want to be. Otherwise, you’re going to keep perpetuating this."
Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Max Scherzer, Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Robbie Ray, Houston Astros veterans Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander, and Chicago White Sox southpaw Carlos Rodon are among those slated to be on the open market this winter.
The Angels, whose starters have posted a 4.76 ERA (22nd in MLB), will see significant turnover from the Opening Day rotation regardless of what happens. Both Alex Cobb and Dylan Bundy will be free agents after the season. As will Andrew Heaney, whom the Angels dealt to the New York Yankees at the trade deadline.
Los Angeles pursued right-hander Gerrit Cole before he inked his nine-year, $324-million contract with the Yankees ahead of the 2020 campaign. The Angels then pivoted to third baseman Anthony Rendon to the tune of a seven-year, $245-million deal.
Injuries to Mike Trout and Rendon have limited offensive production but both are expected to be ready for spring training. With the lineup more or less in place, Angels management will have to turn to free agency or the trade market to give Maddon the pitching help he desires.