Gerrit Cole seemed fit for a halo. He grew up in Orange County, the Angels needed pitching badly, and his home team tossed him all the money.
Cole spurned the angels. He signed with the New York Yankees two years ago, not only because they threw him more money, but also, in the words of Agent Scott Boras, “that pursuit of those World Championships.”
The Seattle Mariners beat the Angels 6-5 on Friday, remaining two games from their first postseason spot since 2001. When Seattle gets there, no team in the American League will be without the playoffs longer than the Angels.
The Mariners went Shohei Ohtani four times, including putting him on the base as a potential tie run in the ninth inning. The Angels loaded the bases with an out in ninth but didn’t score.
Ohtani has walked 11 in his last three games and set Bryce Harper for the Major League record for most walks in three games.
That manager Joe Maddon would say the Angels need to sign two starter pitchers on the front lines makes sense.
For such pitchers to sign with the Angels may not make that much sense, although Maddon has a sales pitch ready for pitchers who might be wondering if they can win at Anaheim.
“You could be the reason we win,” Maddon said ahead of Friday’s game. “You would be the reason we win.”
The Angels are close to their sixth consecutive losing season. The Yankees have had 29 consecutive winning seasons.
Topping the free agent class this fall includes seasoned excellence like Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, and Zack Greinke.
Dodgers pitcher Max Scherzer (left) and Clayton Kershaw will both be free agents this off-season. Could the angels land either one?
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Maddon thought back to his previous job as manager of the Chicago Cubs. By 2016, his sophomore year on the job, the Cubs had assembled a talented core of positional players including Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist.
However, he said the Cubs would not have won the 2016 World Series if the team hadn’t spent $ 155 million to sign veteran starter Jon Lester and $ 32 million to help the seasoned prior to the 2015 season Sign starter John Lackey ahead of the 2016 season.
At the Angels, Maddon sees a core of outfielder Mike Trout, designated hitter Shohei Ohtani and third baseman Anthony Rendon, complemented by first baseman Jared Walsh, second baseman David Fletcher, catcher Max Stassi, outfielder Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh and perhaps shortstop Luis Rengifo.
Maddon called this core “championship capable”. To win the championship, the Angels need to add top notch pitches.
“I like this group a lot,” he says. “But if we don’t, it’s almost impossible for it to happen.”
When he recently made his pitch for pitch public, Maddon lamented another year in which the postseason would go on without the Angels.
Angel’s starting pitcher, José Suarez, lost 6-5 to the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on Friday during the first innings.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
“This organization is better than that,” he said at the time.
Is it? When Maddon left the Angels’ coaching staff to become manager of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2005, the Angels were in the middle of a run in which they won five
League championships in six years.
In the decade of the 2010s, the Angels won one league championship and zero playoff games.
“I haven’t had those 10 years in my memory bank,” he said.
In the decade of the 2010s, none of the Angels-designed pitchers pitched 100 innings for them in a season. Ohtani will be the only Angel to reach 100 innings this season.
Beyond Ohtani, Maddon said, “I guess what? [Jose] Suarez and [Patrick] Sandoval shows you it’s legitimate. ”That would be three starting mugs for a team that mainly uses a six-man rotation this season.
Kershaw, who turns 34 next season, is expected to stay with the Dodgers. Scherzer, Verlander and Grienke live to be 37 years or older, an age in which short-term ability to win is in the foreground.
Could Maddon really sell veterans with the idea that the Angels of 2021 would be an elite franchise?
“I can’t tell you that,” Maddon said. “I can’t really say that. I can say, ‘You can make us an elite franchise.’
“We need people like that who make us the elite. Absolutely. These are the weapons we need to go in the right direction. “