Maddon on GM Minasian, Ohtani's status

December 19th, 2020

ANAHEIM -- Angels manager Joe Maddon met with the media via Zoom for the first time since early in the offseason on Friday, speaking about a wide variety of topics impacting the club.

Of course, one of the main themes was how the Angels plan to improve their starting rotation heading into 2021 after their starters posted the second-worst ERA in the Majors in ‘20. Maddon addressed that topic and many others during his hour-long session. Here’s a look at the key things Maddon discussed.

Topic: Starting pitching

The skinny: The Angels have yet to make any additions to their starting rotation but remain active in conversations and are looking to likely acquire two starters this winter. Trevor Bauer remains a top target, but the Angels could also get creative via trade.

Maddon: "We probably do need more than one. So that's that's been the brunt of the conversation. [Angels general manager Perry Minasian] has been working very diligently to get that done so I'm excited about all that. I think we're just going to need depth."

Topic: The coaching staff

The skinny: The Angels had yet to make any announcements before Friday, but Maddon confirmed that all of the coaches except for first base coach Jesus Feliciano will return in 2021. Feliciano left the club for personal reasons during the ‘20 season.

Maddon: "I love it, I love the continuity. Had it for a while in Tampa Bay for a couple years. It's so important. When you get the same group working together on a daily basis, the conversations are so much better, easier, transparent. Guys aren't worried about offending, it's just so good."

Topic: Catching help

The skinny: Maddon confirmed that the Angels and free agent James McCann had mutual interest before he signed a four-year deal worth roughly $40 million with the Mets. The Angels have and on the roster but could acquire another backstop.

Maddon: "I thought Max did a great job last year and Boomer, he gets an opportunity and plays extremely well. I think with McCann, it's a hard name to walk away from. There was interest on both sides so we had to pursue it. Things may happen, no question, but I'm real happy with Max and Anthony. They both did a wonderful job."

Topic: Working with Perry Minasian

The skinny: The Angels hired Minasian on Nov. 12, and he’s been in close contact with Maddon since getting hired.

Maddon: "It's been really good. He's easy to converse with and he's very communicative, very high energy, very bright and he's got a lot of wonderful ideas. He and I have spoken nearly every day. It's been really good and it's been interesting. He's well thought out. He does combine old and new really well. He's very self-confident. And I definitely absolutely know there's a method to what he's doing and I like it. … We are kind of kindred baseball spirits in terms of how to get this done.”

Topic: Acquiring José Iglesias and Raisel Iglesias

The skinny: The Angels addressed two of their biggest needs via trade, acquiring shortstop in a trade with the Orioles and closer in a swap with the Reds.

Maddon: "This was a perfect example of Perry identifying some guys and going after them. The Iglesias’, I've known José from Detroit, Boston and then Cincinnati. And then Raisel, believe me this guy is a relief pitcher you know if you've been in the NL Central. He's as good as it gets. And then the other guy as a shortstop, the thing that's surprising people is that José has gotten so much better offensively. But he has a flair for defense, is high energy and is an excellent influence in the clubhouse."

Topic: Shohei Ohtani

The skinny: The Angels remain hopeful will return to two-way status in 2021, starting once a week as part of a six-man rotation and serving as designated hitter three to four times a week. Ohtani is coming off another forearm/elbow injury, but Maddon said he spent some time training in Seattle this offseason and believes he’s currently back in Japan.

Maddon: "He's doing really well. I want [his name written] in pen, it just depends on his health. Everything I'm hearing is good. No setbacks. I'm hearing good stuff. We're really excited about that.