The Los Angeles Angels did what many fans hoped would happen immediately after the signing was announced. They have Designated Brett Phillips for Assignment. Phillips' time with the Angels is likely over, and I don't think it should've been.
This move doesn't come as a huge shocker. With Jared Walsh returning from the Injured List, the Angels had to get rid of a position player. With the way Mickey Moniak has played, I didn't expect him to go down. Losing Phillips isn't a big deal, but the Angels should've sent down a different outfielder before getting rid of Phillips.
LA Angels should have sent Taylor Ward down instead of DFA'ing Brett Phillips
I did not expect the Angels to send Taylor Ward down, that doesn't mean I couldn't advocate for it. After a career year in 2022, Ward looks completely lost at the plate. Both Ward and Moniak should be getting every day at-bats somewhere. It's clear to me who deserves them at the MLB level.
Since his recall from the minors, Moniak has nine hits in 20 at-bats. He has two home runs, a double, a triple, two stolen bases, and has drawn a walk. He even made a home run-robbing catch in a game the Angels won by one run. Moniak has lit a spark, while Ward continues to struggle.
Despite Moniak's huge game on Friday night, Ward found his way in left field on Saturday. He did have two home runs against the Twins starter in his career, but sometimes Phil Nevin has to use his eyes and watch how the players are playing right now. Ward went hitless in four at-bats yesterday and is without a hit in his last 13 plate appearances. His average is down to .227 on the season with a .622 OPS.
I still believe in Taylor Ward. I believe last season was not a complete fluke, but he looks lost right now. Getting him regular at-bats in AAA (he has an option) while giving Moniak regular at-bats at the big league level feels like the optimal solution for everyone. Let Ward re-discover his swing in a low-pressure environment, let Moniak play which he's earned.
In terms of Phillips, losing him is whatever. He was fine in his role. He was never expected to hit. He ran the bases well, and played an exceptional outfield. He has 2 DRS despite barely playing. Phillips had his uses, especially in the clubhouse, but was also an easy guy to let go of. It's very possible he clears waivers and finds himself in Salt Lake.
The reason I think Phillips should've stayed is not because of Phillips. It's because of Moniak and Ward. Both of them should be in a lineup every day. Even though Moniak is a lefty and Ward is a righty, a platoon would not work. Splitting time between the two also feels unnecessary when one is fully outplaying the other.
This wouldn't have to be a full-time thing either. If Ward does re-discover his swing, play him. If Moniak struggles, send him down. It's not complicated. I don't think keeping both on the roster is what's best for the futures and presents of those two players.