In 2018 and 2019, Ty Buttrey was one of the Los Angeles Angels most consistent relievers. He had sub-4.00 ERAs in both seasons and figured to be a huge part of the team’s plan out of the bullpen. However, 2020 saw a turn for the worst in his career.
He struggled massively during the pandemic-shortened season, compiling a 5.81 ERA in 26.1 innings. The struggles continued when he arrived to Spring Training in 2021. Ultimately, one of the Angels’ best relievers from 2019 would be optioned to Triple-A.
After that low point for Buttrey, he made the shocking decision to retire from baseball at just 28 years of age. He felt that he no longer had the love for baseball that he once did, and decided it was best to move on before growing a resentment for the game.
Now, nine months after retiring, he could be considering a comeback, he announced via Twitter Spaces on Sunday night, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
Ty Buttrey said on Twitter spaces tonight that he wants to come back to MLB. He retired from the #Angels just before Opening Day last year.
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) January 10, 2022
Buttrey returning to baseball is a complicated situation given all that’s currently going on in Major League Baseball. The lockout means that Buttrey cannot discuss a return with the Angels, as they still own his rights as a player.
When the lockout eventually ends, the Angels would likely need to meet with Buttrey to see if he can still be an effective pitcher at the big league level, or if he would be willing to spend some time in the Minor Leagues before returning.
If all of that goes according to plan and he is back on the Angels roster, it could provide a big boost to an already improving bullpen. As it stands, no one can deny that the back end of the relief crew is bordering elite. However, it’s very clear that the Angels lack substantial depth in that area.
After Raisel Iglesias, Aaron Loup, Mike Mayers, and Austin Warren, it’s unclear exactly where the bulk of the production will come from. Buttrey could slot in perfectly if he can get back to where he was in 2018 and 2019.
CBA negotiations remain at a standstill
Despite rumors that the league and the MLBPA would meet again when the calendar flipped to January, that has yet to happen. With just about one month left until pitchers and catchers are slated to report to Spring Training, it is becoming increasingly likely that there will be some level of postponement to the 2022 season.