The Los Angeles Angels have not handed out significant money to starting pitchers during the Mike Trout era. In fact, the Angels have not had a pitcher making over $10 million in a single season since 2016, when Jered Weaver was on the mound.
Instead, they’ve opted to give cheaper deals to players like Jose Quintana, who at one point were All-Star caliber but today represents a player who can simply get through innings without causing too much damage.
The Angels have had several of these experiments in the past few years — Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahill, Julio Teheran, Tim Lincecum — and none have paid off in any way.
And early in the 2021 season, it appears Quintana is headed for the same fate. In five starts, the one-time All-Star has an ERA of 10.59, representing one of the 25 worst ERA’s of all time for a starting pitcher who made at least five starts.
Quintana has spent plenty of time questioning how he can be better, especially after another poor outing against the Tampa Bay Rays, according to Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:
“How can I be better?” Quintana said after noting his swing-and-miss stuff. “That’s the question I make to myself. … I kept battling, but I couldn’t get the results and it was really frustrating.
“This sucks. But one day I’m going to be good, and it’s going to be really soon.”
While fans may be clamoring for something different, it doesn’t appear Joe Maddon is headed that way just yet. He chalked up Quintana’s struggles largely to bad luck, especially after throwing nine strikeouts in 3.2 innings.
“Bad luck is the only luck this guy’s got,” Maddon said.
“I mean, the numbers weren’t good. … But then again, he walks one, strikes out nine in 3 2/3 innings. Like, how does that happen? I don’t know what to say, man. I know it’s probably difficult to defend and people are not going to understand, but from where I was standing, he threw the ball well, and a little bit unlucky right now. It’s probably a confidence issue as much as anything else. He has to feel confidence from me and us, as well as from himself.”
Various minor injuries and game postponements and other things have taken the Angels starters out of their normal rotation, which could be one of the reasons for these issues. However, Quintana seems to be following an eerily similar path to the reclamation projects before him.
Of course, the Angels hope that he can still turn it around and provide meaningful innings for one of baseball’s best offenses. However, he’s had just one good start in five tries, and the team is 1-4 in games where he is the starter.
For now, it seems as though Maddon wants to stick it out with the former Chicago Cubs pitcher. We’ll see how long — if at all — that lasts.
Angels fall below .500
With the Angels losing 7-3 to the Rays on Monday, they fell below .500 for the second time this season. They are now 13-14 with a brutal section of schedule coming up. If their starting pitchers don’t figure something out soon, things could get ugly for the Halos as they play multiple series in a row against top teams.