The Los Angeles Angels made two moves to try and improve what has turned out to be a depleted infield with the injuries to Anthony Rendon, Zach Neto, and Gio Urshela. Last night they traded for Eduardo Escobar and this morning they decided to promote David Fletcher from AAA Salt Lake.
This meant the Angels had to send down two players, likely infielders, to get back down to 26 players. I felt like one of the players would be Michael Stefanic since he hadn't started a game since Sunday and was clearly behind many infielders on the depth chart. The second player I wasn't so sure about. It turns out the Angels made the tough decision to demote Jared Walsh.
LA Angels did the right thing for both the team and Jared Walsh by sending him down
This isn't the outcome we wanted. Jared Walsh was an all-star in 2021 and looked like a blossoming franchise cornerstone at first base. His struggles in 2022 were tough to watch, but he was also playing hurt. Once Spring Training ended, we were made aware of Walsh's struggles with insomnia and headaches. He ended up missing almost two months of this season before debuting on March 20th.
Walsh made his season debut after tearing up the minors as he recorded 11 hits in 25 at-bats with seven walks in seven games. Unfortunately, that success hadn't translated at all to the majors.
Walsh was slashing .119/.244/.224 with one home run and five RBI. After a solid series in Chicago which included a multi-hit game to end the month of May, Walsh recorded just three hits in his 40 June at-bats. He did hit his first home run of the season which was good to see, but Walsh struck out 16 times and looked mostly uncomfortable at the dish.
The first baseman had started just three games in the last 12 days, and it was clear he was going to continue to get inconsistent playing time as he wasn't contributing to a team trying to win. Instead of having Walsh sit on the bench and play once or twice a week, they'll send him down to play every day and get right.
Walsh clearly has things he needs to improve on, and playing every day out of the spotlight should help him. It's tough to see a player who used to be great struggle like this, but this had to be done.
It might not be what Walsh wants, but I do think his playing every day in a reduced-stress environment will help him in the long run. From the Angels' point of view, they no longer have to put him in the lineup when he clearly should not be in it. Players like the aforementioned Escobar and Brandon Drury can play first base, and the Angels have plenty of infielders who can cover the other positions.
I'm still a Walsh believer. I think when he's right he can be really good. It's also clear he's not right at this moment, and with the Angels trying to win they really couldn't afford to wait for him to find it.