The Los Angeles Angels officially announced the signing of infielder Brandon Drury to a two-year, $17 million contract, giving him an average annual value of $8.5 million. In a corresponding 40-man roster move, right-handed pitcher Oliver Ortega has been designated for assignment.
Drury is coming off a breakout season where he hit .263/.320/.492 with 28 home runs, 87 RBI, 87 runs scored and a 123 wRC+ with the Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres. He was also named the Silver Slugger Award winner in the National League for the utility player position.
He will presumably start at second base for the Angels, but he has the versatility to play nearly any position needed.
During the 2022 season, Drury spent time at all four infield positions and right field. The majority of his playtime has come between second and third base with more roughly 1,500 innings at each position. He has also seen time in left field and even made an appearance on the mound during the 2021 season.
The 30-year-old has bounced around throughout his eight Major League seasons, debuting with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015, where he spent three seasons. He has also played for the New York Yankees (2018), Toronto Blue Jays (2018-20) and New York Mets (2021).
The right-handed hitter is a career .252/.302/.434 batter with 79 home runs, 277 RBI, 248 runs scored and a 93 wRC+ in 645 games. The Angels are betting on his 2022 breakout continuing into future seasons as his previous career-high home run total was 16 during the 2016 season, and more recently he hit 15 in 2019.
Ortega has spent parts of the last two seasons with the Angels, posting a 3.95 ERA across 35 games and 43.1 innings. The majority of his time at the Major League level came during the 2022 season when he pitched 34 innings with a 3.71 ERA.
With Triple-A Salt Lake, he pitched to a 5.96 ERA in 25.2 innings this past season.
The 28-year-old was originally signed by the Angels in 2015 as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic. He made his debut on Sept. 8, 2021 against the San Diego Padres, pitching 1.1 innings while giving up one hit and striking out one.
Phil Nevin encouraged by Anthony Rendon’s recovery
Anthony Rendon only appeared in 47 games after hurting his wrist and subsequently undergoing surgery on June 20 this past season.
It was believed to be season-ending at the time, but he managed to return for the team’s final two games of the season. Rendon was relieved to make it back and gave him confidence heading into the offseason.
“I talked to Anthony quite a bit. As you know, he left the season last year very healthy,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “We got him back on the field those last couple of days without having any rehab starts, just doing stuff in practice leading up to that, which is not normal.”
“But there’s something for him, for his peace of mind to know that he was ready to go. And now he’s spending the winter just adding to his body strength, adding to what he can do. He’s never felt better. I think this year for Anthony’s mind more than anything was huge.”
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