The Los Angeles Angels have desperately been looking for offensive production out of their infield. They have gone through a cycle of players this season at second base, shortstop, and third base since the injuries to Anthony Rendon and David Fletcher.
L.A. has attempted acquiring new players, like veteran infielder Jonathan Villar. They have also tried calling up players from the Minor Leagues like Michael Stefanic. Now, they may be turning to re-treads from past seasons that managed solid campaigns in Angels uniforms.
That, at least, is the external view of the decision Monday morning to claim former Angels infielder Phil Gosselin on waivers from the Atlanta Braves.
In corresponding moves, outfielder Monte Harrison cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Salt Lake, while Mike Trout was placed on the 10-day IL with left ribcage inflammation.
Gosselin spent the 2021 season with the Angels, and wound up playing 104 games due to various injuries affecting players like Rendon. He largely played third base and slashed .261/.314/.362 while hitting seven home runs, 14 doubles, and accruing 47 RBIs.
He then signed with the Braves in free agency. However, he played just 12 games with Atlanta — the team that drafted him in 2010 — at the big league level, slashing only .261/.292/.261 for a .553 OPS.
The Angels are in major need of a boost to the bottom of their order. The 7-9 section of the Angels order has an OPS of .563 this season, so Gosselin — with a career OPS nearing .700 — could actually provide some stability if his numbers remain similar to last season.
It’s clear that at this point in the season, the Angels are willing to try just about anything to improve their unlikely odds at a postseason spot. They have just about two weeks between July 22 and the Aug. 2 trade deadline to figure out their plans for the rest of the year.
If they can come out of the gates hot and close the 14-game gap between them and .500, it may be worthwhile to buy a rental or a team-controlled player. But if they continue to slide the way they have, they could quickly become sellers in what might be a crowded buyer market.
Angels select shortstop Zach Neto in first round of MLB Draft
In another attempt to address organizational infield depth, the Angels used their first round MLB Draft selection on speedy shortstop Zach Neto. Coming from a small North Carolina college, Neto has impressed with his hand-eye coordination and elite contact rates.