The Texas Rangers announced on Thursday that they have signed former Los Angeles Angels first baseman Jared Walsh to a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training camp. Walsh is entering his sixth Major League season after five rollercoaster years with the Angels.
Walsh got the call-up to the Majors in 2019, making 87 plate appearances in his first taste of Major League Baseball. But his true breakout came during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. In 32 games — 108 plate appearances — Walsh posted a .971 OPS with nine home runs. Despite not playing in half of the season, he finished seventh in American League Rookie of the Year voting.
He quickly became the Angels’ starting first baseman for the 2021 season, and was immediately rewarded with his first-ever All-Star selection. He played in 144 games that season, finishing with an .850 OPS, 29 homers and 98 RBI. He entered the 2022 season as one of the best first baseman in the league.
But his best baseball was short-lived. He struggled mightily in 2022 to replicate the production from the two prior seasons. He had a .642 OPS for the year, missed 44 games and had to reset expectations with some stints in Triple-A.
That’s when he began having undisclosed neurological problems that held him out of the first two months of the 2023 regular season. When he finally debuted, he was nowhere near the same player that dazzled in 2020 and 2021. He spent more time in Triple-A and was ultimately cut from the team at the end of the season.
The Rangers — as an American League West rival — clearly saw Walsh’s potential and are giving him a chance to prove it for the reigning World Series champions. For Walsh, it’s exciting to get another chance after a difficult last two seasons as a pro.
For the Angels, they move on to the rookie Nolan Schanuel at first base, wishing nothing but the best for their multi-year starter.
Angels in final two for Adam Duvall
Adam Duvall is one of the more intriguing low-cost options remaining on the MLB free agent market. He had a resurgent age-34 season with the Boston Red Sox in 2023, posting an .834 OPS with 21 homers in 353 plate appearances. It was his first season with the Red Sox, his fifth Major League team. And now, he is reportedly receiving serious interest from the Los Angeles Angels.
The Angels could certainly use Duvall’s services if he’s going to the player that he was in both 2023 and 2021. Last season, despite playing 92 games, he was a consistent producer for the Red Sox. In 2021, when he split time between the Miami Marlins and the World Series champion Atlanta Braves, he won a Gold Glove for his work in the outfield while remaining slightly above league average at the plate with a 102 OPS+.
The Angels’ interest in Duvall is mutual, as according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, it’s the Angels and the Red Sox reportedly vying for his services.