The Angels have brought right-hander Fernando Salas back into the fold on a minor league pact, the team’s Triple-A affiliate announced this weekend (Twitter link). The 32-year-old Salas, who was recently released by the Mets after a down season, has already tossed a scoreless frame for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake City. He’s represented by Paragon Sports.
Salas is a known commodity for much of the Angels organization, having spent the better part of three seasons there from 2014-16. In 178 1/3 innings as a member of the Angels, Salas pitched to a 4.03 ERA with 9.1 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9. His first tenure with the club ultimately ended when he was flipped to the Mets in an August swap 53 weeks ago. That trade was initially a boon for the Mets’ relief corps, as Salas hurled 17 1/3 innings with just four runs allowed on 11 hits and no walks with 19 strikeouts.
That run of dominance prompted a return to Queens on a one-year, $3MM contract this offseason, but Salas’ second year with the Mets didn’t match the first. In 45 innings this season, he logged an even 6.00 ERA. Much of those struggles were due to a .379 BABIP that looks rather fluky, but Salas also averaged 4.0 walks per nine innings pitched — his worst mark since 2012 — and allowed hard contact at a 37.4 percent clip (the second-worst mark of his career). Conversely, Salas’ 9.4 K/9 rate was the second-highest mark in any of his eight MLB seasons, and his 45.1 percent ground-ball rate was easily a career-high.
The Angels will only owe Salas the pro-rated portion of the league minimum for any time he spends in the Majors, as the Mets will be on the hook for the remainder of his contract. With a solid showing in Triple-A, Salas could very well emerge as an option for the Angels in the season’s final month, perhaps helping to pick up some of the slack following Anaheim’s trade of fellow righty David Hernandez to the Diamondbacks.