In the offseason, the Los Angeles Angels acquired utility infielder Tyler Wade from the New York Yankees. Instead of shopping for one of the elite shortstops on the free agent market, the Angels instead prioritized depth, nabbing discount options like Andrew Velazquez, Matt Duffy, and Wade.
With Anthony Rendon and David Fletcher in the starting lineup, it wasn’t seen as a necessity to have an elite shortstop, rather someone who played quality defense while providing some resistance with the bat. But when Fletcher and Rendon went down with injury, the Angels’ strategy showed major flaws.
Wade, Velazquez, Duffy, and Luis Rengifo attempted to man the infield, but a distinct lack of offensive production made it nearly impossible for the Angels to score outside of the top of their lineup. To alleviate this, L.A. brought in veteran Jonathan Villar and Minor Leaguer Michael Stefanic.
As part of the switch, Wade was designated for assignment after 67 games played with the Angels. In that time, he batted .218 with a .544 OPS, stealing eight bases but being struck out 33 times. Now, the Yankees are re-acquiring Wade in a trade, the Angels announced on Thursday morning.
Wade spent his first five MLB seasons with the Yankees, posting a slash line of .212/.291/.298 over that time. His best season was 2021, when his OPS was a career high .677 and he stole 17 bases. His 91 OPS+ was also a career best.
The Yankees could not only use some depth in the middle of their infield, but Wade also represents a familiar face, and one who’s built a close bond with superstar Aaron Judge over the past five years. In terms of locker room presence, Wade is an ideal fit in New York.
It’s disappointing that his short tenure in Anaheim did not go as planned. Had he been able to play the role originally designated to him, it could have been more of a success. But the injuries to Rendon and Fletcher hindered many of the Angels preseason plans.
David Fletcher starts rehab assignment
Luckily, Fletcher is on the mend and could be returning to the lineup in the next two weeks. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake earlier this week, and recent reports suggested that a July 28 return is being targeted by the Angels.