The Los Angeles Angels and general manager Perry Minasian made their first impactful announcement of their off season in outrighting a few notable names in their organization, including Jared Walsh, Jaime Barria and Brett Phillips.
The Angels noted that the entire list, which tabbed Carson Fulmer, Jhonathan Diaz and Chad Wallach as clearing waivers, meant that the club had already designated them all for assignment.
Because this crop of players were all eligible for salary arbitration, the Angels elected to non-tender them, allowing them to hit waivers and become free agents. Walsh, the most surprising of the group, broke out during his 2020 campaign, following that up with a .277/.340/.509 slash with 29 home runs in 2021.
He became an All-Star for the Angels, but in his prior two seasons, Walsh suffered from rough performance, and more importantly, some neurological problems in Spring Training. The talent is sure to be there, but for Walsh and the organization, they parted ways and the first baseman is free to find a new opportunity.
Barria is the other key name, mainly because of his youth, and ability shown in his swing-man role this season for manager Phil Nevin’s club. His difficulties came in odd years, with his best season coming in 2022 when he posted a 2.61 ERA while being a relief weapon, pitching in various spots.
The right-hander undoubtedly has more in the tank, and he’ll receive interest from other teams this offseason. The Angels weren’t willing to meet him in arbitration, as they feel there are enough options in-house to fill the current role he would pitch from.
As for Diaz, Phillips and Fulmer, they’re all likely to hear from clubs about invitations to Spring Training for the 2024 season, but their contracts will primarily remain Minor League based. Phillips does possess some intriguing value from a defensive standpoint, and when in the right system, his left-handed bat has proved to be a streaky piece that can do some decent damage.
Angels announce Chris Okey and César Valdez elect free agency
Both Chris Okey and César Valdez exercised opt out clauses in their contracts this past week, which allowed them to become free agents.
After being signed in late March, Okey joined the Salt Lake Bees, and would go on to spend the majority of the 2023 season at Triple-A. In 63 games, he posted a .281/.345/.414 slash with six home runs, six doubles, two triples and 26 RBI.
Valdez was also added in late March from the ACL Angels, finding a home with the Bees, as well. The unbelievable career of the veteran right-hander spans more than 15 years, with stops in five big league organizations.
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