Not only did Jared Walsh appear to be pencilled in as the first baseman of the future for the Los Angeles Angels, he looked like one of the up-and-coming power hitters in the sport after his all-star season in 2021.
Walsh had an .850 OPS with 29 home runs and 98 RBI that season for the Angels. He was one bright spot on a bad team. Since that breakout season, things have gone extremely downhill for the now 30-year-old Walsh.
Last season saw Walsh really struggle at the plate and that led to him undergoing thoracic outlet surgery in the offseason. He seemed all set to make the team out of Spring Training this season before landing on the IL, dealing with insomnia issues. Walsh has had another lost season in 2023 which led to him being outrighted off the 40-man earlier this season. He came back in September only to be sent down once again.
Jared Walsh's LA Angels career appears to be all but over after being sent down
Walsh was called back up from the minors in mid-September in an attempt for him to prove himself one last time. Things got off to a great start as he hit a pinch-hit home run in his first at-bat back. Walsh then hit another home run the following night. Unfortunately, he really struggled in the weeks to follow.
Walsh had just five hits in 37 at-bats this go-around with the Angels. He struck out a whopping 19 times in those 37 at-bats without drawing a single walk. He did have three home runs which was encouraging, but again, 5-for-37 makes him unplayable.
The Angels could keep Walsh around for the future if they want to, but the chances of them doing that are slim to none. Unlike a player like David Fletcher who's under a long-term contract, Walsh is eligible for arbitration. The Angels could tender him a contract if they choose to for the 2024 season, but the likely scenario is they choose to non-tender Walsh making him a free agent.
The simple fact here is that injuries caught up to Walsh. He doesn't look anything like the player he was just a couple of years ago. Hopefully he latches on elsewhere and re-discovers his swing. I'd love nothing more than to watch Walsh hit 30+ home runs next season as long as it's not in the AL West!