Some early season shuffling within the Los Angeles Angels starting rotation is making for some roster moves which fall on players who would otherwise be a lock to stay, and Andrew Wantz learned that the hard way.
Angels manager Phil Nevin has enjoyed some solid production from his starting staff, but like many around Major League Baseball, offense is up, and pitching is taking a blow. Team-wide earned run averages have ticked up, forcing teams to use a bevy of arms as they search to find innings necessary to not overuse guys this early in the year.
The Angels optioned Wantz to Triple-A Salt Lake to make room for Griffin Canning, who was activated off the 15-day injured list on Wednesday for his first start since 2021.
Wantz has been solid so far, posting a spotless ERA through five innings, with just one hit allowed and tallying six punchouts.
Now in his third year with the club, the right-hander is proving to be both valuable to the big league roster and, unfortunately, a moveable asset because of his Minor League options, via Sam Blum of The Athletic:
“It’s really hard,” Nevin said. “He’s been great for us all last year and again this year. I would anticipate you guys are going to see him back. You will, very soon. Right now, it’s just a numbers thing. It is.
“We feel like we have the best roster here with Griffin starting tomorrow. And unfortunately, Wantz gets pushed out because of what the numbers are.”
The Angels could have opted to keep Wantz on the roster by way of moving Tucker Davidson, José Suarez, or another pitcher off by designating them for assignment, but general manager Perry Minasian isn’t prepared to make that decision.
Wantz is a reliever in his third year with the club who has become one of their most valuable relief pitchers, but it’s ultimately a business, and giving up depth on their pitching staff could have backfired. Still, there is also the potential for backfire in the form of more losses by not carrying their best relievers on the pitching staff.
Griffin Canning alters training regimen to return to Angels
Drafted in the second round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of UCLA, Canning made his big league debut just two years later. Joining the Angels for parts of three seasons, his contributions to the staff weren’t great in plain statistics, but for a young arm, he showed a solid amount of promise for the future.
After missing nearly two years after suffering a stress fracture in his back during the 2021 season, he got the ball on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals, turning in a solid start in his return to MLB.
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