The 2021 season hasn’t gone as planned for the Los Angeles Angels as they enter play Tuesday at 56-56 and find themselves trailing the Oakland Athletics by eight games for the second American League Wild Card spot.
It’s no secret that injuries have derailed the Angels this year, with the likes of Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon missing a significant amount of time. On the flip side, the constant roster turnover has created opportunities for some unlikely contributors.
L.A.’s starting rotation, once a revolving door, appears to be trending upward with Patrick Sandoval, Jaime Barria and Jose Suarez thriving alongside two-way star Shohei Ohtani.
However, their success has come in a small sample size and it’s no guarantee they’ll be able to sustain it heading into next season. Angels general manager Perry Minasian cautioned of such and could not make promises on what the rotation will look like in 2022, per Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group:
“What they’ve done this month might not be what they do next month,” Minasian said. “You factor in injuries. Performance risks. When the season ends we’ll sit down with the coaching staff, the baseball operations department and go through what we have, what we need, and so forth.”
Though there finally appears to be some stability within the Angels’ staff, Minasian hinted he will be on the lookout for pitching upgrades during the offseason:
“As long as I’m here, I will always say we need pitching,” Minasian said. “I think every organization is saying we need pitching. There are teams that are in first place that make transactions daily, trying to add as many arms as they can.”
It’s unclear if Minasian will look to make a splash, but if he does, there are plenty of top-tier starting pitchers available in free agency. Among the most notable include Carlos Rodon, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Zack Greinke and Noah Syndergaard.
The Angels also have several free agents of their own they will need to make decisions on such as Dylan Bundy and Alex Cobb.
Maddon: Pitching success due to mental changes within young starters
Angels manager Joe Maddon recently spoke on the success of the Angels’ young starters and attributed it to them changing their mentality, specifically noting they feel more confident on the mound.