The Los Angeles Angels have activated Griffin Canning off of the Injured List to start today's rubber match against the Washington Nationals. Canning will be making his first start since July of 2021 after missing the entire 2022 season due to injury.
In order to accommodate the Canning activation, the Angels had to make a roster move. No matter what the move was, there wasn't going to be one move that fans would all universally agree on.
The move the Angels did make is definitely not one fans would want to see, but it was the move I expected and is what I believe to be the right decision.
The LA Angels made the right decision demoting Andrew Wantz
Andrew Wantz has been the Angels' best reliever this season, pitching five innings without giving up an earned run, and allowing just one hit. He pitched well in Spring Training and was good last season. He's also versatile, able to pitch early or late if needed, and can record more than three outs in a given outing.
When Phil Nevin said it came down to the numbers, this I assume meant options. With that in mind, the Angels had practically no choice when it came to who they were going to demote here.
The only pitchers on the roster with options were Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers, Jimmy Herget, and Andrew Wantz. Sandoval and Detmers the Angels are never going to demote for obvious reasons. Herget has had a couple of rough outings, but was elite last season and is one of the most important arms the Angels have in the 'pen. He's not going anywhere either.
So the Angels essentially had to decide between demoting Wantz for a little bit or losing an arm for the entire season. If this was happening in September my opinion would be different, but losing an arm in April when the Angels have historically struggled with their pitching depth would not be wise.
When looking at the month of April, this move makes the Angels worse, there's no disputing that. However, this is how the Angels roster is constructed. If a guy like Tucker Davidson had options, he'd be sent down. If Wantz didn't have options, he'd still be up. If Jose Suarez went more than four innings in his last start, Davidson wouldn't have started Wednesday and Canning would probably make another start in the minors.
Eventually, the Angels will bring Wantz back. They have no choice, he's too good. To accommodate that move they'll either make some sort of trade or come to a decision between one of their three sixth starters/long relievers in Canning, Davidson, and Jaime Barria. There also very well could be an injury, and it'll be nice to have a guy like Wantz waiting in the wings.
It's always tough to demote a guy like Wantz but when the Angels get killed every year because of their lack of depth it's easy to see why they did this. They have more depth this year than in years past but it's still not at the level of some of the top-tier teams.
This was a tough decision to make, but one I believe Perry Minasian and Phil