The Angels finally addressed their starting rotation this offseason, reportedly agreeing to terms with left-hander Jose Quintana one a one-year, $8 million contract, per multiple reports.
The team announced the signing on January 22.
Quintana had nearly his entire 2020 season by a pair of injuries, first missing six weeks with a lacerated thumb, then missing three weeks in September with lat inflammation. When he pitched, three of his four games were in bulk relief, and he posted a 4.50 ERA (and 2.99 FIP) in all of 10 innings, with 12 strikeouts and three walks.
Prior to last year, Quintana was one of the most durable pitchers in baseball, starting 31 or more games for seven consecutive seasons (2013-19), averaging 193 innings per year for the White Sox and Cubs.
Quintana turns 32 on Sunday.
If healthy, Quintana provides a league average-ish starter who will eat innings. He averaged 3 fWAR and 1.9 bWAR from 2017-19, and if he can get close to that would add stability to an Angels rotation that has been sorely lacking in it for the past two years.
But the “if healthy” part is the rub, and I don’t blame Angels fans for being gun shy about another one-year deal for a formerly good starting pitcher looking for a rebound, after Matt Harvey ($11 million) in 2019 and Julio Teheran ($9 million) in 2020 were sub-replacement level in their time in Anaheim.
Quintana with the Angels would reunite with Joe Maddon, who managed the left-hander for three seasons in Chicago. After getting acquired by the Cubs in a crosstown in July 2017, Quintana had a 4.23 ERA and 3.95 FIP in 78 games with Maddon.
At FanGraphs, Quintana is projected by Steamer to have a 4.61 ERA in 2021, and ZiPS has him at 4.76. While that may seem like nothing to write home about, the Angels in the 26 starts not made by Dylan Bundy, Andrew Heaney, or Griffin Canning in 2020 had a 9.22 ERA in 82 innings. It was a disaster out there.
Anything the Angels can do to prevent those disasters will go along way toward actual contention. They very likely still need to add an impact starting pitcher, but bringing Quintana aboard should at least strengthen the rotation depth.