The Los Angeles Angels have lost their 2022 Opening Day cleanup hitter to the Kansas City Royals. When you read that first, you might think the Angels somehow got out of Anthony Rendon's contract, or for some reason released Jared Walsh. Nope!
Angels 2022 Opening Day cleanup hitter Matt Duffy signs Minor League deal with the Royals.
Matt Duffy for some reason hit cleanup for the Angels on Opening Day. He responded by recording two hits in three at-bats, but the Angels only scored one run and lost the game. The issue here is Duffy should've never come close to the cleanup spot.
Duffy signed a one-year $1.5 million dollar deal with the Angels last offseason. Duffy and Kurt Suzuki inexplicably were the only hitters signed by the Halos last offseason. Duffy earned a roster spot based on how he played in 2021 but again... cleanup?
The Angels had Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, and Anthony Rendon hitting at the top-three spots and then the lineup fell off a cliff. Duffy cleanup, Jo Adell fifth, Max Stassi seventh, the lineup just was not good from the start.
Duffy was brought in to be a decent bat but he was not that as he slashed .250/.308/.311 with two home runs and 16 RBI in 77 games. He had a 101 OPS+ in 2021 with the Cubs and had a 98 OPS+ in his career heading into the season. That number plummeted to 77 as an Angel.
The Angels had no spot for Duffy for 2023 as they brought in the likes of Gio Urshela and Brandon Drury to fill the infield depth roles. The moves the Angels made this offseason made sure guys like Duffy won't have to hit cleanup on Opening Day in 2023 as the lineup is as deep as it's been in years.
Even if the Angels opt to use Ohtani, Trout, and Rendon in the top three, they can go with someone like Taylor Ward, Hunter Renfroe, or Brandon Drury in that spot. They'll have an above-average hitter in that spot and throughout most of the lineup which is great to see.
Duffy has a chance to make the Royals roster, he wouldn't have a chance here in Anaheim.