Last Angels rotation spot could be Chase Silseth's to lose

With the Angels showing more interest in spending on relievers than starters, Chase Silseth could be the frontrunner for their last rotation spot.
Jul 31, 2023; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Chase Silseth (63)
Jul 31, 2023; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Chase Silseth (63) / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels entered the offseason with pitching needs all over the roster. Their best starting pitcher from last season, Shohei Ohtani, was set to hit free agency. Their best reliever from last season, Matt Moore, was also set to hit free agency. Ohtani signed with the Dodgers, and while Moore remains a free agent, he has not been publicly linked to the Angels.

While choosing to let Moore sign elsewhere would be a mistake, the Angels have at the very least added to the bullpen group they had last season. Early on this offseason, they signed Luis Garcia, Adam Cimber, and Adam Kolarek to cheap one-year deals. All three of these relievers are coming off down seasons, but have all had success at the MLB level before. They at the very least add some much-needed depth.

After months of waiting, the Angels finally made their first big move of the offseason. They signed yet another reliever, Robert Stephenson, to a three-year deal. Stephenson is the kind of difference-maker the Angels needed in their bullpen.

Historically the Angels have been reluctant to spend big on starting pitching under Arte Moreno. With that in mind, while Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery both make a whole lot of sense for a bad rotation, it feels more likely that the Angels will roll with the starters they already have. If they do that, Chase Silseth has a clear path to making the team.

Chase Silseth could be the Angels' fifth starter if they refuse to add a starting pitcher

Adding a frontline starter, whether it was in free agency or via trade was in my opinion, the move the Angels had to make if they wanted to be competitive in 2024. While it's not impossible that they add a top starter, it certainly doesn't feel likely. Rolling with what they have isn't what I'd do, but it does give Silseth the chance to prove himself.

The 23-year-old took Jaime Barria's rotation spot after the all-star break last season and was running away with it, turning in some brilliant starts against some of the league's best teams in the process. Silseth allowed two runs or fewer in five innings or more in a four-start stretch against the Yankees, Braves, Mariners, and Astros. He had a pair of double-digit strikeout games in that four-start stretch including fanning 12 in seven innings against the Mariners.

Silseth put questions about his stamina to bed by pitching deep into some games, and looked like a really promising piece to their future. A late-season freak injury against the Mets hampered his season towards the end, but Silseth posted a 3.21 ERA in his seven starts to finish out the year.

If things stay as is, he has to be considered the favorite to join Reid Detmers, Patrick Sandoval, Griffin Canning, and Tyler Anderson in the rotation. The Angels could turn to guys like Zach Plesac, Jose Suarez, or Kenny Rosenberg, but it really feels like Silseth's spot to lose as of this very moment, which is both exciting and frustrating for Angels fans who want to see what he can do but also want a rotation upgrade in the worst way.