The Angels announced that outfielder Juan Lagares has been signed to a new minor league deal. The former Gold Glove winner will report to Anaheim’s Triple-A affiliate.
Lagares also signed a minors deal with the Halos prior to last season, and ended up seeing quite a bit of action at the big league level. Lagares hit .236/.266/.372 over 327 plate appearances and 112 games in 2021, and defensive metrics were a little split on Lagares’ glovework — +2 Defensive Runs Saved and +1 Outs Above Average for his 784 1/3 outfield innings, but a -1 UZR/150.
Long known as an outstanding defender, Lagares can provide depth at all three outfield positions, and might not spend too much time in the minors. Los Angeles has a starting trio of Mike Trout, Taylor Ward, and Brandon Marsh, with rookie Aaron Whitefield just called up today to work as the fourth outfielder. With Jo Adell still working things out in the minors, Lagares provides a more experienced option to Whitefield should the rookie not be ready for MLB action. Lagares and Whitefield are both right-handed hitters, so they could spell the left-handed hitting Marsh when a southpaw is on the mound.
Should Lagares reach the Angels’ active roster, it will mark a 10th big league season for the 33-year-old. Lagares spent the first eight of those seasons with the Mets, usually working as a backup or platoon outfielder but also getting some time as the everyday center fielder. Lagares caught on with the Angels last winter, and re-entered the free agent market back in November.