Angels clear money in trade with the Braves while they wait for an Ohtani decision

How the Angels will spend this extra money remains to be seen.
Sep 26, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels second baseman David Fletcher (22) runs
Sep 26, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels second baseman David Fletcher (22) runs / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Shohei Ohtani decision has dominated the news cycle as fans continue to wait and see what he opts to do. The Los Angeles Angels, one of the teams waiting for Ohtani, have just cleared some money while waiting thanks to a trade with the Atlanta Braves.

In this deal, the Angels shipped out Max Stassi and David Fletcher to the Braves in exchange for Evan White and Tyler Thomas. This deal can be categorized as nothing more than a salary dump from an Angels perspective.

LA Angels ship fan favorite to the Braves in money-saving trade

The Angels sent the Braves two players they didn't need in exchange for two players that they also don't really need. Fletcher is the biggest name in this deal, as he was once seen as a future cornerstone for this Angels team. His breakout 2020 season earned him a five-year extension with the club, but Fletcher's play has fizzled since, and the team had no use for him. He appeared in just 33 games with the Angels this past season, struggled, and was waived twice. The Angels save the $14 million he was still owed on his deal.

Max Stassi is the other Angels player to go to the Braves in this transaction. He was a servicable catcher for the Angels in 2020 and 2021 before he got extended and struggled after the fact. He was bad in 2022 and missed the entire 2023 season due to personal reasons. The Angels save the $7 million he was owed in 2024.

With the Halos having a plethora of infielders, as well as two solid catchers ahead of Fletcher and Stassi respectively, they didn't have much of a need for either player. Especially with how much they were getting paid.

In return, the Angels didn't get much, obviously. Evan White was part of the Jarred Kelenic deal Atlanta made just days ago with the Mariners, and is just a player the Braves are dumping to clear some money. He's due $17 million over the next two years and is a player the Angels will likely not have any use for.

Tyler Thomas is a 27-year-old reliever who the Braves just took in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft from the Mets organization. He has yet to make his MLB debut, but has been an effective reliever in his six years in the minors. He posted a 2.86 ERA in 24 appearances in the minors this past season.

Overall, the Angels save some money as Fletcher and Stassi combined to earn more than White and Thomas. This deal essentially gives the Angels the ability to commit to Matt Thaiss as their backup catcher, while they also add a depth arm and clear some money. Considering the Angels clearly didn't see Stassi or Fletcher in their 2024 plans, the deal makes a lot of sense.