The Los Angeles Angels have routinely struggled to find quality pieces to fit around their stars, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. They often whiffed in free agency, and failed to develop from within. Jared Walsh looked like an exception to the latter, and looked like a future star when he first got the chance to play regularly for the Angels.
Walsh looked good in the shortened 2020 season in limited action, and after beginning the following year in a part-time role, got off to such a good start to the point where the Angels felt comfortable letting Albert Pujols go. Walsh took over as the regular first baseman and took off, hitting 29 home runs with 98 RBI and making the All-Star team.
That 2021 season turned out to be the highpoint for Walsh in an Angels uniform, as he struggled mightily and dealt with injuries in each of the last two seasons leading to the team DFA'ing him and outrighting him off of the 40-man roster. With Walsh a free agent following the 2023 season, he was free to sign anywhere. He chose a division rival, the Texas Rangers.
Former LA Angels first baseman Jared Walsh signs deal with the Rangers
It's a minor league pact for Walsh who heads to a divison rival for the 2024 season. He'll have a chance to latch on with the defending World Series champions as he attempts to get his career back on track.
The Rangers make a lot of sense as a Walsh destination for a couple of reasons. First, the bench is weak, and that's presumably where the 30-year-old sees an opportunity to crack the roster. With Mitch Garver departing in free agency, there could be a path to some playing time at DH as well. With a good showing in Spring Training, it certainly wouldn't be impossible for Walsh to crack the Opening Day roster.
Second, he's crushed the ball in and against Texas throughout his career. Walsh has an .888 OPS against the Rangers and a whopping 1.194 OPS in 66 plate appearances at Globe Life Field in his career. Some of that has to do with some poor Texas pitching, but it's clear Walsh sees the ball well there.
Walsh leaves behind some incredible moments with the Angels. He was never the consistent stalwart at first base that Angels fans hoped he'd be after his all-star season, but was always a fun player to root for. As hard as it'll be to see him in a Rangers uniform, it's good to see Walsh get another opportunity. He certainly wasn't going to get it with the Angels.