With five All-Stars in the rotation, and a need for some weapons in the bullpen, Richards converted to a reliever in late August and struggled at times in a prominent late-game role, ultimately posting a 5.82 ERA in 17 innings.
But the 24-year-old right-hander has shown flashes of greatness as a starter, and next year, he's penciled in to join a rotation that's only guaranteed to have Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson back.
"That was the plan with Garrett all along," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "Garrett handled himself well at various points this season as a starter. He's got the pitch mix, he's got the delivery. Obviously, we're still working through the adjustment phases at the Major League level for Garrett, but he's got all the weapons to be a starter and it's a very important thing. If we can inject Garrett Richards into our starting rotation, thumbs up, and it gives us the flexibility to do some other things, as well."
While Richards will return as a starter, Nick Maronde may stick as a reliever.
That's still up in the air, but the 23-year-old left-hander has risen fast in his first full season as a pro. In 20 games (18 starts) in the Minors, Maronde posted a 2.26 ERA while jumping from rookie ball to high A to Double-A. After his September callup, he impressed as a situational lefty, giving up one run on five hits, three walks and five strikeouts in 11 appearances (spanning 5 2/3 innings).
"Nick's going to be given an opportunity in Spring Training to show what he can do in Major League camp," Dipoto said. "I think he's done very well, he's represented himself well, and more than anything, I think his makeup is really outstanding. He gets out there, he's focused, he throws strikes and he's not afraid."