The Los Angeles Angels made the tough decision to send Andrew Wantz down to the minors to allow themselves to activate Griffin Canning off of the Injured List. Canning made his first start in nearly two years and fared pretty well against the Nationals.
He's expected to start next week in New York and if he pitches well again, can potentially be a full-time member of the starting rotation. While it's nice to see Canning back, sending Wantz down wasn't an easy thing for the Angels to do.
Wantz had tossed five scoreless frames to begin the season, and was one of only a couple of relievers actually pitching well for the Angels. While it was the right decision in the moment to allow Canning to come off of the IL, the Angels will eventually have to bring Wantz back.
Andrew Wantz should be back with the LA Angels no later than May 1
With Wantz getting sent down, this means he can't be brought back up for a minimum of 10 days unless there is an injury. Hopefully, the Angels can stay healthy so Wantz won't have to be brought back in an emergency situation. Assuming there isn't an injury, there should be a target date of May 1st.
Thanks to Shohei Ohtani being a part of this Angels rotation, the Halos use a six-man staff. It's different this season than in years past because Ohtani is going to pitch every sixth day instead of game. This allows the Angels to use a traditional five-man staff when they have days off.
To begin this season, the Angels didn't need a sixth starter until their 12th game of the season. Griffin Canning took that spot and pitched pretty well in a victory over Washington. After a day off, the Angels will embark on a streak that sees them playing 17 games in 17 days. No days off for 2.5 weeks. This means both Jose Suarez and Griffin Canning will make starts every sixth day for those 2.5 weeks.
Once May 1st comes around, the Angels will have the ability to address their rotation. Griffin Canning, Tucker Davidson, Jose Suarez, and Jaime Barria will be competing for two spots on the roster. I assume Barria has his spot locked in and would be shocked if the Angels decided to part ways with Jose Suarez (both are out of options).
In reality, Wantz will likely have to replace Canning (who has options) or Davidson (who does not). If Canning doesn't pitch well, the decision is easy to just send him down to bring Wantz. back. If Canning does pitch well, the Angels will have a tougher decision to make.
Holding four arms that have the ability to start and only starting one of them consistently doesn't make sense. Keeping a really solid arm in the minors when the bullpen is the team's weakness also doesn't make sense. The turn through the rotation after May 1st will only have to consist of five starters, so the sixth guy would be relegated to the bullpen.
Wantz is too good to leave in the minors. The Angels have to make a tough decision by May 1 to bring him back and replace someone. If Canning pitches well, Perry Minasian has to figure out a trade or make the decision to just let an arm go.