Injuries were not the only reason the Los Angeles Angels set a franchise record for players who took the field in a single season. They also parted ways with three players they had hoped would make a big impact in 2021.
Tony Watson and Andrew Heaney were traded at the trade deadline, the former to the San Francisco Giants and the latter to the New York Yankees. Meanwhile, the Angels parted ways with Jose Iglesias after deciding to take a closer look at Jack Mayfield and Luis Rengifo at shortstop.
All three players were influential to the team’s early success, but found themselves playing for playoff contenders by the late months of the season. Today, their time with the Angels will be reviewed and a look ahead for each of the veterans in 2022.
The first four player reviews can be seen here:
Watson, 36, signed with the Angels just days before the start of the 2021 season. Perry Minasian recognized a lack of bullpen depth and turned to the 11-year veteran as a stopgap option. In that time, he was relatively successful and one of the more reliable relief pitchers on the team.
He appeared in 36 games, pitching a total of 33.0 innings. His 4.64 ERA and 1.79 K-to-BB ratio was nothing to write home about, but a 4.11 FIP and 1.182 WHIP suggested he may have been more unlucky than outright disappointing.
At the trade deadline, he was dealt to the Giants — where he spent 2018-20 — in exchange for Ivan Armstrong, Jose Marte, and Sam Selman. The latter two ultimately wound up pitching limited innings for the Angels in September.
Watson will now enter his age-37 season, meaning retirement cannot be completely ruled out. However, given his success with the Giants after the trade, it’s possible he finds himself back on the mound in San Francisco.
Heaney was one of the Angels most productive starters from 2015-21. In his seven seasons with the Angels, he never quite reached his ultimate potential, and with his impending free agency and the fact that his 2022 season would be his age-31 campaign, L.A. finally felt it was time to move on.
In 2021, Heaney had a 5.27 ERA in 94 innings over 18 starts with the Angels. He had a 4.06 FIP, and 1.309 WHIP, and 113 strikeouts. He was traded to the Yankees — who needed some depth for their playoff push — in exchange for Janson Junk and Elvis Peguero, both of whom played with the Angels in September.
Heaney was also one of the first free agents to sign with a team for 2022, agreeing to a one year, $8.5 million deal with the L.A. Dodgers. The Dodgers have the free agencies of Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw to deal with while also facing an uncharted situation with Trevor Bauer.
Iglesias was brought in by the Angels via a trade with the Baltimore Orioles. The hope was that he would replace the savvy defensive play of Andrelton Simmons while providing a steady bat towards the bottom of the order. He wound up playing 114 games with the Angels, but struggled to replicate the production of his 2020 season.
His average, OBP, and slugging all dropped by over .100, and his defense took a nosedive, committing a career high in errors and a career low in nearly every major defensive category.
With the Angels out of playoff contention and Iglesias heading to free agency, the Angels decided he was not a part of their future and released him to get a batter look at potential 2022 shortstop options within the organization. He signed with the Boston Red Sox and actually played well in his short time there.
He is now a free agent and can still provide some value given a bounce-back defensively, although it most assuredly won’t be with the Angels.