The Angels’ offseason search for pitching help led them to Jose Quintana and Alex Cobb in the rotation, as well as Raisel Iglesias, Tony Watson, Steve Cishek, Alex Claudio, Junior Guerra and Aaron Slegers in the bullpen. That’s a considerable amount of turnover on its own, but right-hander Jake Odorizzi revealed during last night’s broadcast that the Halos made a strong run at him in free agency as well. The Angels, according to Odorizzi, “were one of the teams that talked to us pretty much from start to finish” (Twitter link via Jack Harris of the L.A. Times). Odorizzi, of course, went on to sign with the division-rival Astros, pushing them right up against the luxury-tax threshold and prompting them to cut Cishek loose from a minor league deal he’d signed with Houston — despite a solid spring effort. Cishek latched on with the Halos on a big league deal and has been solid thus far through his first seven relief appearances. Odorizzi has struggled a bit after signing late, but the fact that he’s punched out 11 of the 36 hitters he’s faced (30.6%) and walked just three (8.3%) is encouraging.
Some more notes on the Halos…
- Manager Joe Maddon said after last night’s game that he expects injured outfielder Juan Lagares and catcher Max Stassi to rejoin the club this weekend (Twitter link via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register). Lagares has been out since April 11 due to a calf strain, while Stassi hit the IL two days later owing to a thumb injury. Maddon added that he expects third baseman Anthony Rendon, out since the 11th himself due to a groin strain, to return to the club early next week during the Angels’ series against the Rangers. The 30-year-old Rendon has been nothing short of brilliant since signing his seven-year deal; in 60 games as an Angel, he’s slashed a hearty .286/.413/.482 with 10 homers, 11 doubles, a triple, 43 walks and just 38 strikeouts through 269 plate appearances.
- Rookie right-hander Chris Rodriguez is expected to remain in the bullpen for the 2021 season, writes MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, but his early work has reinforced the organization’s belief that he can be an impact starter in the future. “He’s a strike-thrower and he can get quick outs by challenging hitters with that fastball and force them to beat it into the ground,” says Maddon of Rodriguez. “You can see him becoming a frontline starter. It gives me a lot to think about now that I’ve seen it.” Rodriguez has indeed been impressive thus far. The 22-year-old has held opponents to four runs on eight hits and six walks in 10 1/3 innings while racking up 14 strikeouts. The command could obviously stand to improve, but Rodriguez is also boasting a whopping 64% ground-ball rate thanks to his power sinker. Hitters have seemingly had a tough time reading the ball out of his hand, too, as evidenced by a 23.4% called-strike rate that ranks fifth among all pitchers (min. 10 innings pitched). Maddon noted that Rodriguez could eventually see late-inning work this year, though for the time being he’s providing ample value in a multi-inning role.