Tucker Davidson makes the team, but sixth starter competition isn't over
Phil Nevin says that Tucker Davidson has made the Los Angeles Angels' Opening Day roster and will pitch out of the bullpen to begin the season. That was the one roster spot we were unsure about.
Davidson making the Opening Day roster isn't a shocker, as he pitched well enough to stay on the roster and would've been DFA'd if he didn't make the team as he's out of options. Davidson pitching out of the bullpen to begin the season isn't a shocker either, as the sixth starter won't be needed until late in the Angels' first homestand.
What is surprising is the sixth starter competition doesn't appear to be over.
Tucker Davidson is on Angels Opening Day roster, but sixth starter competition isn't over
Davidson made the team, but Griffin Canning appears to be hurt after feeling something in his groin. It's bad news that Canning is feeling discomfort, but this does appear to be another "convenient" injury.
Convenient is never a good word to use when discussing injury, but this can be said about the catcher situation too.
Like Davidson, Matt Thaiss is out of options. Despite a hot start, I've felt that Logan O'Hoppe was the better candidate to catch alongside Max Stassi (who unfortunately was always going to be on the team). Stassi went on the IL right before Opening Day, and the Angels are able to keep O'Hoppe up while not losing Thaiss.
Griffin Canning outpitched Davidson this spring. Davidson was pretty good and was much better than he was in 2022, but Canning looked very impresssive especially considering he hasn't pitched in a MLB game since July of 2021.
If Canning goes on the IL, that gives Davidson a spot on the roster for now, and gives the Angels an opportunity to re-evaluate. If Davidson gets off to a rocky start in the bullpen or has a rough start, the Angels could easily look to cut him. If Davidson is pitching well, Canning can go to the minors.
The same can be said for Thaiss. If he's swinging the bat well and looking comfortable behind the plate, the Angels can easily send O'Hoppe down or figure out a way to keep Thaiss around. If Thaiss is struggling by the time Stassi comes back, they can cut him.
Injuries are never a good thing, and I hope Stassi and Canning are okay. They are, however, interestingly timed injuries that could help the Angels go through a 162-game season.