The Los Angeles Angels knew they needed to improve their starting rotation entering this offseason. On Tuesday evening, the club made its first major starting pitching acquisition this winter by agreeing to terms with lefty José Quintana on a one-year, $8 million contract. The deal reunites Quintana with his former Chicago Cubs skipper, Joe Maddon, and marks the second time a Maddon-led team has acquired Quintana.
Quintana will join a starting rotation that consists of Dylan Bundy, Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning, and Shohei Ohtani. Quintana’s 2020 season was delayed when he required surgery on his hand after lacerating his thumb washing dishes last summer. He would return to appear in only four games, making one start, before a lat strain would shut his season down the first of September. However, prior to last season, Quintana was a model of durability. He averaged 192 innings and 32 starts across his first seven full big-league seasons.
Quintana, who turns 32 on Sunday, was originally signed as an international free agent at age 17 by the New York Mets. He would also have a stint in the New York Yankees farm system before his second release led to him signing with the Chicago White Sox in 2011. The Colombian lefty made his MLB debut with the Sox in 2012 and pitched over 200 innings in each of the following four seasons. Then, he was dealt to the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs in 2017. The Cubs surrendered two top prospects (outfielder Eloy Jimenez and pitcher Dylan Cease) in exchange for Quintana.
Quintana was an All-Star and finished 10th in American League Cy Young voting in 2016. He comes to the Angels with a career 3.73 ERA and 83-77 record. Since 2015, Quintana has an 18.6 fWAR, ranking 15th in Major League Baseball just behind Noah Syndergaard’s 18.8 and free agent Trevor Bauer’s 18.9. His post-2015 WAR is also greater than free agents James Paxton, Chris Archer, Jake Arrieta, Masahiro Tanaka, and Rick Porcello.
TRUTH FOR ANGELS FANS:@fangraphs pitchers WAR ranking 2015-2020…
13. 18.9 – Bauer
14. 18.8 – Syndergaard
15. 18.7 – JOSE QUINTANA
16. 17.3 – Price
17. 17.2 – Corbin
18. 17.0 – Lester
19. 16.6 – Arrieta
20. 16.2 – Keuchel
21. 16.0 – Tanaka
22. 15.9 – Paxton
23. 15.8 – Archer
— Halo Life ⚾ (@_HaloLife) January 20, 2021
Angels general manager Perry Minasian has not commented on how this signing could impact their pursuit of Trevor Bauer. The Angels have been the favorite and logical destination for Bauer this winter. Now, though, it would appear that signing him could push them up against the luxury tax threshold. The Angels have a history of signing contracts with yearly escalators and could employ this strategy when pursuing Bauer. Los Angeles could also acquire a different top-tier starter and stay under the luxury tax. Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray, a pair of Cincinnati Reds hurlers, could make for intriguing targets. Free agents Jake Odorizzi and J.A. Happ are other potential candidates for the Halos.
In any case, José Quintana should not be the Angels’ final offseason addition to the rotation. The team opens Spring Training in February.
Follow B.J. Martin on Twitter @_HaloLife
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