Less than a week after he was designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angels, right-hander Austin Warren is back with the team after clearing waivers.
The 26-year-old reliever was outrighted to Triple-A Salt Lake with the Bees and will stick around with the club that drafted him in the sixth round of the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft. A stellar 2021 season in which he posted a 1.77 ERA across 20.1 innings pitched was followed up with a clunker this past year.
Warren struggled in 2022, allowing 10 earned runs in just 16 innings of work, good for a 5.63 ERA. He surrendered a .306 batting average to opposing hitters and was optioned to Triple-A on July 27, where he would spend the rest of the season.
To create room on the 40-man roster for newly-signed outfielder Brett Phillips, Warren’s DFA was a risk the Angels needed to make.
Warren underwent nasal surgery last year, forcing him to miss some time with a fracture. But fast forward to his second half of the year with the Bees and Warren continued to impress.
In 24 innings in Triple-A, Warren posted a 1.50 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, surrendering just one home run. Although his FIP was a tad elevated at 4.06, his ability to limit free passes is a solid improvement for the righty. Fortunately for general manager Perry Minasian and the Angels, if he’s able to continue his rise, Warren should see meaningful time in MLB.
If the Angels do wish to bring him back to the Major League level, they would need to re-add him to their 40-man roster, which would force them to DFA another player, or move someone to the 60-day injured list.
Pitching remains a focus for Angels in the offseason
Minasian has conducted a pretty thorough and productive free agency period with the signings of Tyler Anderson, Carlos Estévez, and Brandon Drury, banking on players who flashed immense upside this past season. Acquiring Hunter Renfroe and Gio Urshela in trades were solid moves, mainly because of their position heading into their final year of salary arbitration.
The Angels are heading into a very important regular season, potentially franchise-altering because Shohei Ohtani’s future hangs in the balance. According to reports, Minasian continues to search for help in multiple areas of the roster.
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