The Angels have claimed left-hander Christian Friedrich off waivers from the Rockies and designated infielder Taylor Featherston for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (on Twitter).
Friedrich, 28, was selected 25th overall out of Eastern Kentucky University back in 2008, but he’s struggled for much of his pro career, amassing an ERA north of 5.00 at both the Triple-A level and in the Major Leagues. This past season, Friedrich posted a 5.25 ERA with 6.9 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and a 47.4 percent ground-ball rate in 58 1/3 innings of work. While Friedrich has struggled throughout his career, he’s held left-handed hitters in check fairly well, limiting same-handed opponents to a .257/.314/.364 batting line. He’s also posted considerably better numbers away from Coors, where he has a 4.61 ERA as compared to a 6.96 mark at home. Because he’s out of options, Freidrich will have to make the Halos’ Opening Day roster — presumably in the bullpen — or again be exposed to waivers.
The DFA of Featherston is a somewhat surprising revelation, if only because the Angels carried the 2014 Rule 5 Draft pick on their Major League roster for the entirety of the 2015 season rather than expose him to waivers and offer him back to his original team. Featherston, in fact, received just 169 plate appearances and batted .162/.212/.247. While he’s a gifted defender, the decision to dedicate a roster spot to him over the course of 162 games only to cut him loose in the offseason figures to irk some Angels fans, especially considering the fact that the club missed a Wild Card playoff berth by a lone game in the standings. Then again, with some turnover in the team’s front office, it certainly seems possible that the new faces atop the baseball operations hierarchy simply didn’t few Featherston as highly as their predecessors.