LA Angels Make Surprise Move Activate Soto, Perez demoted

Geovany Soto is back from his injury will he be the answer for the Angels at catcher? Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Geovany Soto is back from his injury will he be the answer for the Angels at catcher? Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Angels have been using two catchers each with less than a year of Major League experience over the past six weeks after veteran Geovany Soto went on the DL with a knee injury.  Carlos Perez and Jett Bandy have done an adequate job holding down the backstop position while Soto was on the mend.

The LA Angels made a surprise move Friday evening as they activated Geovany Soto from the disabled list and demoted incumbent catcher Carlos Perez to Triple-A Salt Lake City.  What many people expected to happen was for the Angels to demote Jett Bandy back to the minors since Bandy was only promoted to the majors when Soto was injured in late May.

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Instead the Angels threw everyone a curve ball by allowing Bandy to stay in the majors and instead demote Perez, who finished the last two months of the 2015 as the starting catcher, and then Perez won the starting catching job this Spring from Soto.

So what prompted this move was simple: Productivity.  With the exception of Perez’s huge night last Saturday in Boston where he went 5 for 6 with six RBI’s, Perez has been awful at the plate this season.  Perez is batting .204 with four homers and drove in 23 runs. He was batting just .186 before the Boston game, but went up 22 points with his monster performance.

If you want further reasons as to why the Angels sent Perez down instead of Bandy, you have to look no further than his June batting average.  Perez hit .169 in the month of June with one home run and three RBI’s, compared to Bandy who has batted .279 with two home runs and 11 RBI’s since being called up in late May.

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Both Perez and Bandy have done a very good job defensively.  Bandy has a .993 fielding percentage and has thrown out 6 of 16 (38%) would-be-base stealers. Perez has identical numbers sporting a .993 fielding percentage and throwing out 14 of 37 base stealers which is also the same percentage as Bandy which is also 38 percent.

So what about Soto? What were his numbers before getting hurt?  Soto was batting .283 with three homers and seven RBI’s in 60 at bats.  Soto threw out 6 of 21 would be base stealers which is only 28 percent.

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With the Angels sitting in last place at 37-50 16.5 games behind Texas they have nothing to lose in making this move.  The question is would this same move have been made if the Angels were sitting two or three games out of first place.  However, I believe this is the right move at this time as Perez is struggling at the plate and a trip to the minors may help him straighten out his swing. Hopefully Perez will gain some confidence that will carry over to the next time he comes up to the majors.

This could be sooner than people may think. If Soto plays well in the next few weeks, he could be a part of a trade deadline deal.  If that happens Perez will almost assuredly come back in a reserve role.  This is only pure speculation, but don’t be surprised if it happens.

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Only time will tell, for now Bandy and Soto will split the duties behind the plate.  With C.J. Cron going on the disabled list tonight with a broken left hand, you might also see Soto or Bandy occasionally serve as a DH if they continue to hit well.