Uncertainty surrounding starting pitching is nothing new for the Angels … but it surely isn’t welcome. The still-unknown outlook for Griffin Canning is weighing on the team at the moment. That’s the backdrop for several of the latest notes regarding the Los Angeles ballclub …
- GM Billy Eppler says he doesn’t feel any added need to acquire a new starter — at least not yet — as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets. That may in part speak to ongoing hope that Canning’s elbow woes won’t ultimately represent a major problem. But it also reflects the simple fact that, as Eppler notes, it just isn’t the best time of year to go out looking for a new arm. The open market’s best options are already taken and teams that have depth on hand are loathe to part with it at this juncture. A patient approach therefore makes sense, as the Halos’ precise level of need isn’t yet known and some amount of pitching supply is likely to free up later in Spring Training.
- The Angels will build up JC Ramirez as a starter in camp, manager Joe Maddon told reporters including Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic (Twitter link). As Ardaya notes, that could put the righty in the running for some sort of a flexible swingman function throughout the season. Ramirez just re-joined the Halos after reportedly showing a bit of a velocity renaissance in winter ball. If he can get back to something approaching the solid form he showed in 2016 and 2017, he’d be an awfully useful part of the Angels’ pitching staff.
- There’s better news in the bullpen, where key righty Keynan Middleton seems to be showing well. As Fletcher tweets, Middleton was pumping 96-97 mph heat in his scoreless outing today. That’s a good sign given what we saw of him late last season, when he had only just returned from Tommy John surgery. While he allowed only a single earned run in 7 2/3 innings late in 2019, Middleton was clearly not in top form. He displayed a loss of over two mph on his average fastball and dished out seven walks to go with six strikeouts.