If the Taylor Ward-back-to-catcher experiment pays off, the fourth outfielder role may be up for grabs. The Angels front office has signed a few seasoned veterans to minor-league deals to create a bit of competition. These names include Jon Jay, Juan Lagares, and Scott Schebler.
Jay, who is another ex-Maddon player from his time with the Cubs, has enjoyed an 11-year career. He has always been a strong defender and a contact first hitter, consistently hitting in the high .200s. He has a 2011 World Series ring from his second season when he was a member of the Cardinals. Jay spent his first six seasons with the Red Birds but has been a journeyman ever since, having brief stints in San Diego, Chicago (both Cubs and White Sox), Kansas City, and Arizona.
As a 36-year-old, it’s unlikely he will regain his form, as he hasn’t hit above .270 since 2017. Jay will need a late-career resurgence to even have a shot at making the starting lineup. He will most likely have his eyes set on a backup outfielder role.
Predominantly a center-fielder, Lagares will also be battling for that fourth outfielder role, as it is unlikely he will win the starting right field job. Throughout his career, he has never really shined offensively. His best year came in 2014, where he slashed .281/.321/.382. On the other side of the ball, he profiles as a strong defender; in fact, during that same 2014 season, he captured the NL Glove Glove award for the center field position.
It’s doubtful Lagares will be considered as a starter. He figures to serve more as a late-game defensive replacement for Justin Upton if he makes the team out of spring training.
Out of all the minor league signings, Schebler is the most intriguing. He broke out after hitting 30 home runs while slashing .233/.307/.484 during the 2017 season. However, that year may have been a fluke as he has amassed a total of 19 home runs at the big league level since then.
It’s not likely he returns to his breakout form, but he is worth keeping an eye on, as he has shown that he could perform at the highest level. I don’t expect to see Schebler with the big club unless he emerges this Spring Training as the player he once was.
Want your voice heard? Join the Halo Hangout team!
I believe Fowler will emerge from Spring Training as the everyday right fielder, despite being outperformed by one of the younger guys such as Adell or Marsh. With the Angels desperate to get back to the playoffs, if they feel Adell and Marsh are ready, it won’t be long into the season before we see them called up.