The Los Angeles Angels have activated Ryan Tepera from the Injured List. Tepera had been out since April 15th with a shoulder injury he suffered in Boston. Tepera being activated means someone has to go down, and Angels fans won't want to hear who that unlucky player is.
Andrew Wantz has been demoted to AAA Salt Lake to make room for Tepera. This move is frustrating, to say the least. Wantz despite some recent control issues has been probably the third-most reliable arm the Angels have had in their bullpen all season behind Matt Moore and Carlos Estevez, but he gets sent down for a second time because of a roster crunch.
Wantz isn't being sent down for performance reasons. He's being sent down because they'd have to lose someone if he wasn't the one getting sent down. This is a problem, and it's something the Angels have only themselves to blame.
LA Angels demoting Andrew Wantz highlights bigger issue in the organization
Andrew Wantz has made eight appearances for the Angels this season. He's allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits with four walks and 12 strikeouts in 11.1 innings pitched. He has a 0.79 ERA and a 0.706 WHIP. He's been very good, and has really been a solid arm for the Angels in each of the last two years.
Wantz was not sent down for performance, he was sent down because he has options. The only pitchers with options are Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers, Griffin Canning, Chase Silseth, and Wantz. Sandoval, Detmers, and Canning obviously aren't going anywhere, so that leaves one of Silseth and Wantz.
While it's great to hold onto pieces and not lose depth, I think it's a mistake that the Angels are sending down one of their best relievers, and I think most Angels fans would agree with that. If this team wants to win, they must field the best roster possible. It's not April anymore. They have to cut the cord with some players it's not working with.
Aaron Loup does not have a role on this team anymore. When Quijada is healthy, he's the third lefty. He has made three appearances in the last 12 days. Why he has to stay here over someone like Wantz who has earned his spot is beyond me.
Why Chase Silseth, who has options, is even here over Wantz is also beyond me.
The bigger issue this is highlighting is that the lack of player development has just killed the Angels. We've seen it with players they've failed but just look at the way this bullpen is constructed.
Last offseason, the Angels signed Tepera and Loup to fortify the bullpen. Both signings have been wasteful, but they're still here since they're making money. This past offseason, the Angels signed Estevez and Moore to try and right the wrong of last offseason. That's four big-money relievers signed in the last two years.
Their current bullpen consists of two home-grown players; Chase Silseth and Jaime Barria. That is it. Tucker Davidson was acquired in a trade and is out of options. Chris Devenski was signed in free agency, he cannot be sent down either without them losing him.
The Angels' inability to develop their own players stems back to Arte Moreno not providing the resources other owners provide, and it's continuing to destroy this franchise. The Angels do have some better pieces in the minors now like Ben Joyce and Eric Torres among others who can hopefully come up WHEN THEY'RE READY and dominate for years to come. The key is when they're ready and now is not the time.
For now, the Angels have to keep Wantz on a shuttle to Salt Lake because of their inability to develop their own guys. Every team has some external options in the bullpen. No team has only one or two guys they can send down because it completely limits what you can do. When you can't develop anybody and have to sign free agents every offseason, that limits your flexibility.
Eventually, the Angels will have to cut their losses and DFA someone like Loup to keep Wantz up here. I wish that day was today, but maybe it'll be sometime soon.