Heading into the offseason, the Angels needed to find a starting outfielder. They did that with the Hunter Renfroe trade. This move pushed Jo Adell and Mickey Moniak to fringe roster players. After the Phillips signing, both appear to be on the trade block.
The Angels sign a fourth outfielder.
Brett Phillips is a player who's known more for his glove than his bat. He's one of the better defenders in the game with the ability to play all three outfield spots. He ranked in the 99th percentile in outfielder jump and the 97th percentile in outfielder arm strength this past season. In 2021 he was in the 96th percentile in outs above average according to baseball savant.
Phillips gives the Angels an option to use in center field on days Mike Trout has off and if he goes down with an injury. He gives almost nothing with the bat, but defense does have value.
Adell and Moniak both have potential, but neither have hit at the big-league level. If the Angels wanted to compete, relying on one or both of them to step up wasn't the smart way to approach it. Now it appears neither outfielder will be on the Opening Day roster.
Phillips has slashed .188.273/.348 in his six-year career with 28 home runs and 93 RBI in 900 career plate appearances. His best season came in 2021 when he had a .727 OPS and hit 13 home runs in 118 games for the Rays.
Phillips does have some potential against right-handed pitching as he has a career WRC+ of 90. Against southpaws, however, he's completely unusable.
The 28-year-old can be a decent signing if the Angels use him the right way. Use him as a defensive replacement, or as a spot starter against a right-hander when Trout needs a day off. Using him full-time is not a good idea.
Why the Angels gave him an MLB deal I'm not quite sure, but I don't fully hate it. Phillips is an awesome locker-room guy and is one of the more beloved players in the game. He's had fun moments as a pitcher, and even drove in a game-winning run in the World Series.