Two Angels players elect free agency after strong seasons in the minors

Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Angels tried their hardest to acquire as much depth as possible heading into the 2023 season. This meant they'd make trades for guys like Mike Moustakas and Eduardo Escobar when they were incredibly shorthanded in the infield, and it also meant they'd sign veterans to minor league deals.

Two veterans the Angels brought in were Kevin Padlo and Reyes Moronta. Padlo was an offseason addition and battled for an Opening Day roster spot after an impressive spring but fell short. Moronta was a mid-season addition who, like Padlo, received a cup of coffee in the majors this season.

Both of these veterans have officially elected free agency, and it'll be interesting to see if the Angels want to bring them back after strong seasons in the minors.

Two LA Angels veterans test free agency

The Angels were Kevin Padlo's sixth MLB organization and the results were fairly similar. He's always hit pretty well in the minors, and that was no exception here with AAA Salt Lake as he'd slash .261/.384/.451 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in 92 games there. Some of the success can be attributed to playing in the PCL, but Padlo earned at least a look in the majors this season.

He did receive eight MLB at-bats this season but had just one hit. Angels fans mostly remember him making his season debut and hitting sixth against Clayton Kershaw at Angel Stadium. He went on to go hitless in three at-bats, one of which was a groundout with runners on second and third with nobody out that failed to plate a run. The Angels lost that game 1-0.

Padlo has no MLB success as he has just six hits in 54 at-bats, but he can play a number of different positions and has always hit lefties well in the minors. The 27-year-old will certainly catch on somewhere.

While Padlo hasn't done much, Reyes Moronta has certainly had MLB success. He had a 2.66 ERA from 2017-2019 before shoulder surgery ended that 2019 season early. He'd wind up missing the entire 2020 season and most of 2021, but he'd return for four late appearances. His velocity was way down in those appearances leading to the right-hander being outrighted off the 40-man roster.

He had a 4.30 ERA in 2022 pitching for the Dodgers and Diamondbacks but failed to regain what he had lost velocity wise and was once again a free agent. The Angels brought him in on a minor league deal when they desperately needed arms. Jose Quijada and Austin Warren had undergone Tommy John Surgery at the same time and they were without Aaron Loup and Jose Suarez at the time.

Moronta would get a call-up rather quickly after being signed, but would struggle in his two appearances before being DFA'd. He allowed seven baserunners while recording four outs in those two outings, although he did limit the opposition to one run.

The 30-year-old Moronta still has the track record of success, but unless he finds his 97-98 mph fastball, it's hard to see him getting many more big league chances.