Brought in to be an innings-eater, LHP José Quintana was expected to be a positive addition to the 2021 rotation. The Angels signed Quintana in January during free agency after the shortened season and a campaign that saw him miss most of the season with injury while with the Chicago Cubs.
The Halos took a chance on Quintana, signing him for $8 million and one year.
The move reunited Quintana with his old skipper, Joe Maddon, and the Angels hoped the duo could help an Angels rotation that had consistently struggled with injury and lack of innings. Unfortunately, things went sideways, fast.
Billed an innings-eater, Quintana only went five or more innings twice in 10 starts and never hit six or more innings as a starter for the Halos. He struggled with walks and a shoulder injury that sidelined him from the end of May until June 21.
When Quintana came back from injury, he was assigned to the bullpen and fared a bit better there. Out of the ‘pen, he posted a 3.39 ERA in 18.1 innings and lowered his walks, only allowing three after his return from the IL.
However, his final start for the Angels came on Aug. 19 against Detroit where he gave up seven hits and six runs (five earned) in only 1.1 innings of work. The Angels eventually won the game in amazing comeback fashion, 13-10, but confidence in Quintana couldn’t have been lower. He made only one more appearance out of the bullpen in a blowout loss to Baltimore on Aug. 26.
On Aug. 30, the San Francisco Giants claimed Quintana on waivers and his time with the Angels officially came to an end.
2021 STATS (Only with LAA)
24 Games / 10 Starts / 3 Holds / 0-3 Record / 6.75 ERA* / 53.1 IP / 66 H / 45 R / 40 ER / 9 HR / 29 BB / 0 IBB / 73 K / .297 AVG / 1.78 WHIP*
Quintana had a few holds and some nice moments out of the bullpen, but his best start came against the Texas Rangers on April 21 at Angel Stadium. Against the Rangers, he went 5.0 innings on 95 pitches, allowing two hits and one run with four walks and eight strikeouts in an Angels 7-4 loss.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2022
It is very unlikely the Angels resign Quintana after his performance in 2021. The soon-to-be 33-year-old may not be washed up just yet, but after finishing the season a free agent after his short Giants stint, he has a lot of work to do to make his way back to a major league rotation. Had he been older, his 2021 season would’ve likely been the dagger in his career. If the Giants claiming Quintana off of waivers means anything, there may be a team or two out there ready to give him another chance.
Could it happen? Sure, but it won’t be with the Angels. Quintana found some success in the bullpen so he may find a new home as a middle-inning reliever, but his days as an All-Star starting pitcher looked over in 2021. While it’s completely possible that this last season was an anomaly or just another example of the Angels being a cursed franchise, the Angels have indicated both in action and words that they will look to obtain higher-caliber starting pitching over the winter.
Quintana is a free agent this offseason.