The Los Angeles Angels were officially eliminated from postseason contention this week, marking a seventh consecutive season they will not play meaningful baseball in October.
Although that had been the expected outcome for weeks now, Angels manager Joe Maddon did not hold back when discussing the organization’s drought.
He essentially challenged the front office to bring in winning players this offseason, specifically highlighting the starting rotation as an area of need.
Some felt the comments were a bit excessive and on the harsh side, but Angels general manager Perry Minasian did not take offense and understands he needs to bolster the roster in the coming months, via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
“I may not win some kind of academic decathlon, but I’m not an idiot,” Minasian said Thursday. “The guy has won a lot. He knows what it takes to win. I didn’t think it was anything earth-shattering. I did receive a couple of text messages, but I didn’t get what the big deal was. We need good players. Of course.”
At 73-80 entering play Friday, the Angels are on the verge of finishing under .500 for a sixth straight season. That’s hardly what the team envisioned at the start of the year as injuries, inconsistent play and poor pitching ultimately did them in.
Minasian isn’t making excuses, however, and knows the Angels must make significant strides next season:
“I don’t want to look up next year at this time and be out of it, eliminated, 10 games under .500,” Minasian said. “Nobody is happy with where we are. … We have to get better players, guys who can help us win. Unless we’re going in a different direction, and I don’t know about it.”
Looking ahead to 2022, the Angels already have a nice core in place with American League MVP frontrunner Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon — the latter two of whom are expected to make full recoveries from their respective injuries by the start of Spring Training.
Improving the pitching staff will be the organization’s biggest priority, and there are several options they can consider signing in free agency, including Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Kevin Gausman, Marcus Stroman, Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke.
Cobb looking to close 2021 season on high note
Another starting pitcher that may be on the Angels’ radar is one they are familiar with in Alex Cobb.
He recently returned from the injured list and has been lights out in his first two starts back, which is only improving his stock as he gets set to become a free agent at the end of the season.