The Los Angeles Angels surprised the entire fan base when they signed Brett Phillips to a one-year deal this past offseason. It wasn't the fact that they wanted to give Phillips a look, but the Angels giving Phillips a MLB contract seemed odd from the beginning considering the fact that he had a .466 OPS in 2022 and had never really been a good enough hitter.
In the role the Angels had carved out for Phillips, the signing did make some sense. They envisioned an outfield of Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, and Hunter Renfroe in the lineup virtually every day, so Phillips' role was simply to come off the bench and do two things he excelled at in a pinch; defend and run.
Phillips made just three starts for the Angels and had 16 appearances for the first month and a half of the season before he was DFA'd to make room for the raging hot Mickey Moniak. This seemed like the right move to make at the time as Moniak simply had to be on the roster, but Phillips' strong finish to his season since returning should make the Angels regret their decision to have him off the roster for as long as they did.
The LA Angels might've made the wrong decision not bringing Brett Phillips back up sooner
Phillips said he needed the time in the minors to refine his swing, and it's paying dividends for him now in his latest chance at the MLB level. The Angels promoted him earlier this month with the team needing outfielders with them having virtually none after the injuries and Hunter Renfroe leaving via waivers.
With his ability to defend and run, all he has to do is be close to league-average offensively to be a MLB player. So far in September, he's been well beyond that. In his 11 games and 36 at-bats, Phillips is slashing .270/.350/.556 with three home runs and four RBI. He hit a home run against Luis Castillo in Seattle, and most recently hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth with the Angels down to their final strike against the Tigers.
Phillips is still striking out at a ridiculously-high rate, but has hits in seven of the 11 games he's started including three multi-hit games.
Having Phillips up likely wouldn't have changed much with the Angels season, but in hindsight, how awful would it have been to see him get some starts in right field over Hunter Renfroe when he was doing next to nothing productive?
We know what Phillips can do in the field and on the base paths, so seeing him hit, albeit in a small sample, is great for him. The Angels might not bring him back, but this hot streak will absolutely get teams interested this offseaso