As the Los Angeles Angels offseason continues, the starting rotation will have a different vibe in 2017.
The Los Angeles Angels are making moves in hopes of having a better 2017 than 2016. The 74 win team is looking to upgrade multiple positions, including the starting rotation. As the Angels look ahead to next season, they may be without Jered Weaver for the first time since 2006.
The Angels will be without C.J. Wilson, but not due to injury. There has been no indication from GM Billy Eppler that the Angels would consider bringing back Wilson next season. Wilson sat out all of 2016 with a shoulder injury while collecting a cool $20 million in the process.
Weaver; however, pitched in 31 games, going 12 of 12 during the 2016 season. His ERA was a career high 5.06. Weaver did pitch one shutout and served up 103 strikeouts. While Weaver has been in an Angel uniform since his entry into the majors, he may have a different home next season.
Last week, Eppler spoke about Weaver during the GM meetings. AJ Cassavell of MLB.com writes that Eppler said:
"“We even met in person, actually spent time together and talked a little bit about free agency, talked about the club, the direction on both of our parts — what direction he wants to go, what direction we’re going to go.”"
Billy Eppler also stated via Cassavell, that they were going to allow free agency to settle before having another conversation. Basically, Eppler is going to allow Weaver to field offers before he ultimately makes his decision on whether to bring Weaver back.
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The Angels have recently signed Jesse Chavez to become a starting pitcher next season. There is also the reemergence of Garrett Richards, who was officially taken off of the 60-day DL last week. Tyler Skaggs also rejoined the Angels last season after having Tommy John surgery during the 2014 season.
The Angels will have a handful of pitchers fighting for a role in the starting rotation, including Matt Shoemaker, J.C. Ramirez, Ricky Nolasco, and Jhoulys Chacin depending on how his free agency plays out.
Eppler also spoke to Cassavell about the pitching situation for the Angels this offseason.
"“I think we’ll be able to pull guys in that have at least been starters at some point in their careers or have the ability to start,We’d like to add as many [starters] as we can take but not completely handcuff any flexibility.”"
If the Angels bring Jered Weaver back, I would strongly suspect he wouldn’t be a full-time starter. Weaver could either compete with Andrew Bailey and Huston Street for a closer role or become a set-up man after the starter is pulled. I would also hope that the Angels don’t sign Weaver to another huge contract.
While the Angels well-laid plan of returning to relevance in the AL West hasn’t fully come to fruition, it’s clear that it is in motion. We can expect for the Angels to make a handful of moves before Spring Training 2017.