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These candidates in mix for Halos' 5th starter

@RhettBollinger
February 16, 2020

TEMPE, Ariz. -- After acquiring Dylan Bundy in a trade with the Orioles and signing Julio Teheran to a one-year deal this offseason, the Angels essentially have the first four spots in their rotation set, as Bundy and Teheran are set to join Andrew Heaney and Griffin Canning.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- After acquiring Dylan Bundy in a trade with the Orioles and signing Julio Teheran to a one-year deal this offseason, the Angels essentially have the first four spots in their rotation set, as Bundy and Teheran are set to join Andrew Heaney and Griffin Canning.

But it means the Angels will have a competition for the fifth spot this spring -- unless they decide to go with a four-man rotation to open the year because of an abundance of off-days early in the schedule. However, manager Joe Maddon said the club hasn't discussed a four-man rotation yet, which leaves the door open for a competition.

Shohei Ohtani, meanwhile, will need some more time recovering from Tommy John surgery before he returns to a Major League mound.

More two-way players? Maddon thinks so

Here’s a look at the Angels’ candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation this spring:

RHP Matt Andriese
Matt Andriese, acquired via trade with the D-backs in January, is scheduled to be stretched out to start this spring, although there remains a chance he heads to the bullpen. The 30-year-old pitched exclusively out of the bullpen with Arizona last year, posting a 4.71 ERA with 79 strikeouts, 27 walks and eight homers allowed in 70 2/3 innings. The Angels, though, like that he has experience as both a starter and reliever, giving them more flexibility. He also has Minor League options, so he can be sent back and forth to Triple-A without pause. He could be available out of the bullpen to start the year and then transition to the rotation once the Angels need a fifth starter, which could come as early as April 4.

RHP Félix Peña
Félix Peña is coming off right knee surgery but the Angels believe he'll be ready for Opening Day. He threw the second most innings on the team last year, posting a 4.58 ERA with 101 strikeouts, 34 walks and 16 homers allowed in 96 1/3 frames. Like Andriese, he could open the year in the bullpen if he doesn't make the rotation. He also has Minor League options as well.

LHP Patrick Sandoval
Patrick Sandoval was sick early in camp, but it's not expected to set him back this spring. The 23-year-old made his Major League debut last year, recording a 5.03 ERA with 42 strikeouts, 19 walks and six homers allowed in 39 1/3 innings. He could head to Triple-A for more seasoning, as he was called up last year a bit ahead of schedule. But he still showed promise and swing-and-miss stuff.

RHP Jaime Barria
Jaime Barria, 23, had a solid rookie year in 2018 with a 3.41 ERA in 129 1/3 innings (26 starts), but he couldn't replicate that success in '19. The righty bounced between Triple-A and the Majors seemingly all season, posting a 6.42 ERA with 75 strikeouts, 27 walks and 24 homers allowed in 82 2/3 big league innings. But Barria worked hard this offseason to get into better shape and arrived at camp 14 pounds lighter.

LHP Jose Suarez
Jose Suarez's first Major League season was a forgettable one, as he had a 7.11 ERA with 72 strikeouts, 33 walks and 23 homers allowed in 81 innings. But he's still just 22 years old, and the Angels love his changeup. Now it's about helping Suarez regain his confidence and fix his mechanics, including reducing his propensity to tip pitches. He’s likely to start the year at Triple-A but remains an intriguing prospect despite his rough rookie year.

LHP Dillon Peters
Dillon Peters saw action as both a starter and a reliever with the Angels last year, registering a 5.38 ERA with 55 strikeouts, 26 walks and 18 homers allowed in 72 innings. The 27-year-old had a 4.13 ERA entering September but struggled the final month of the season, allowing 19 runs over his final 19 2/3 innings. But he showed enough potential last year that he'll be in the mix again this go-around. He also has Minor League options, so he could start the year at Triple-A if the Angels want to keep him stretched out as a starter.

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.