#5- Solidify Starting Staff
The Angels have a great young top-of-the-order starter in Garrett Richards. He has the stuff and presence on the mound to be very successful in this game for a long time. Coming back off of knee surgery, Richards posted a 3.65 ERA and was 15-12 in 32 starts. The 27-year-old showed no effects of the knee injury and could be poised for a huge year this year. Behind him there are many question marks on this Angels team.
C.J. Wilson ($20.5M) and Jered Weaver ($20.2M) are owed a huge amount of money for 2016, but neither is the pitcher they used to be. Weaver has been often injured and his velocity is way down. He can still get hitters out because he changes speeds so well, but he is the shadow of his former self. Weaver went 7-12 last season with a 4.64 ERA in 26 starts. Wilson has been slightly above-average, but struggled last season with injury and is 34 years of age. The left-hander went 8-8 last season with a 3.89 ERA in 21 starts.
Those three are most surely assured a spot in the rotation and behind that there is going to be a dogfight. Hector Santiago, Matt Shoemaker, Andrew Heaney, and Nick Tropeano are all going to compete for the last two spots on the staff. Santiago started 32 games last season for the Angels and went 9-9 with a 3.59 ERA. The 27-year-old lefty showed some decent pitching skills for the Halos last season. Shoemaker went 7-10 with a 4.46 ERA and rumor has it the team is trying to trade him for upgrades.
Ultimately the Angels would love to move Weaver or Wilson and their inflated salaries. The team has decent young starters, but are heavily invested in theses two veterans. David Price, Johnny Cueto and Zack Greinke and company are free agents this winter. The Angels could make a run at one of them if ownership gives the approval to expand the payroll. Surely new G.M. Eppler is anxious to mold the roster with players he covets.