ANAHEIM — Joe Maddon is just as frustrated as you.
Just before the Angels faced the playoff-bound Houston Astros on Wednesday night, Maddon said he’s tired of being left out of baseball’s October party.
And Maddon has only been around for two of the seven seasons in the Angels’ playoff drought.
“This can’t continue to go on,” Maddon said. “We can’t annually be in this position. This organization is better than that. We deserve better than that. We have to go out and earn it.”
Maddon also suggested exactly what so many others have said for years, that the Angels need to acquire premium starting pitching in order to take the next step.
Responding to a question about whether Reid Detmers – the Angels’ top pitching prospect – has shown enough to be a candidate for next year’s rotation, Maddon said the organization should aim higher.
“What’s your agenda next year? Is it to participate in the American League West and hopefully, possibly make it to the end and play a game in October?” Maddon said. “That should never be the situation. My point is, we have to get guys that we think are ready to win right now, in that rotation, in order to get to where you want to be. Otherwise, you’re going to keep perpetuating this.”
The free agent starting pitcher class is full of big names who are at the tail end of their careers, most notably Max Scherzer. The group also includes accomplished pitchers like Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander (coming off Tommy John surgery) and Corey Kluber.
The list of frontline starters in their prime is short: perhaps just Marcus Stroman, Kevin Gausman and Robbie Ray.
While waiting to get their crack at new pitchers over the winter, the Angels are playing out the string this season with a rotation full of young, inexperienced pitchers.
“You want to put yourself in position that these games matter, and instead you’re doing this casting call, giving all kind of opportunities,” Maddon said. “It’s wonderful. It’s necessary. But we’ve got to get beyond that. And we’ve got to get beyond it next year.”
More to come on this story.