The Los Angeles Angels chose to not upgrade the sixth starter spot and will be using someone on the roster for it barring a surprise trade. This isn't the direction I would've gone in, but that's not worth discussing right now.
We know the sixth starter will be someone in the organization right now, but we don't know who it will be. The Angels have plenty of options for it including Griffin Canning, Chase Silseth, and Tucker Davidson. There are even some options off of the 40-man roster who are unlikely to earn the spot but can't be fully counted out.
A pitcher who we know will be on the Opening Day roster is Jaime Barria. He had an excellent season in long relief for the Angels last season but what about Barria for the rotation? Is that something the Angels should consider?
Why LA Angels pitcher Jaime Barria should be the sixth starter
In a season full of disappointment, Jaime Barria was a bright spot. He was primarily used as a long reliever and had a 2.61 ERA in 35 appearances and 79.1 innings pitched. He was one of only a couple of Angels relievers who surpassed expectations.
Phil Nevin recently said he could see the sixth starter being somewhat of a swingman. This means this pitcher would work both as a starter and a long reliever. Out of the candidates for this sixth starter spot, Barria is the one with the most experience in this type of role.
The right-hander has 56 starts and 44 relief appearances in his career. While his best season was this past year as a reliever, Barria has a modest 4.03 ERA in his 56 starts. As a sixth starter, that number is more than passable.
If Barria is able to replicate those starting numbers while being the dominant long reliever he was last season, the Angels are golden.
Why LA Angels pitcher Jaime Barria should not be the sixth starter
Barria's 2022 numbers were good, but the advanced metrics would suggest regression is coming. Barria had a 2.61 ERA but had a 4.11 xERA and a 4.39 FIP. He pitched to contact which is fine, but with the shift going away, that'll be a little bit harder to do.
If Barria does regress to those expected figures, or even beyond that, is he better than another option like Griffin Canning who has had success at this level in the past or Chase Silseth who has far more upside?
Another reason to not make Barria the sixth starter would be to keep him in a role he's clearly comfortable in. Barria might want to start, but he's coming off his best season in a relief role. The Angels' bullpen is improved but has its question marks. Moving Barria away from a spot where he has shown to be comfortable and effective might not be the best idea.
Who would even be the long man if Barria is moved to the rotation? Silseth and Canning both have no relief appearances. Can the Angels afford to lose that spot?
How many innings can the Barria give the Angels in this role? He threw 129.1 innings in 2018 but hasn't topped 85 innings in a season since, maxing out at 82.2 innings pitched in 2019. Can he last the full season in that spot?
There are arguments for and against Barria beginning the season as the sixth starter, what would you do?