The Angels have sent outfielder Brett Phillips outright to the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees, per his transactions tracker at MLB.com. That indicates he passed through waivers unclaimed after the club designated him for assignment on the weekend.
Phillips, turning 29 next week, was signed this winter to a one-year, $1.2MM deal. He has long been a light-hitting outfielder with value off the bench as a speed-and-defense specialist. The Halos used him in that vein, putting him into 20 contests but sending him to the plate just 16 times. Though he stole three bases and provided his customarily strong glovework, he hit just .077/.250/.077 in those trips to the plate, a drop-off from even his own standards.
For his career, he’s hit .187/.272/.343 in 916 plate appearances dating back to 2017. That amounts to a wRC+ of 70, or 30% below league average. That’s a level that teams have been able to live with given his other traits, as he’s stolen 39 bases and been given excellent grades from all advanced defensive metrics. He has career tallies of 43 Defensive Runs Saved, 34 Outs Above Average and a score of 27.0 from Ultimate Zone Rating.
The Halos went into the season with a regular outfield of Mike Trout, Hunter Renfroe and Taylor Ward with Phillips in the fourth outfield role. However, his downturn at the plate coincided with the rise of Mickey Moniak, who hit well in the minors and was recalled a few weeks ago, producing a scorching hot .419/.438/.935 batting line in his 32 plate appearances so far.
Each of the 29 other teams had a chance to grab Phillips off waivers but all declined. He has over three years of major league service time, which technically gives him the right to reject this outright assignment and elect free agency. However, he lacks the five years of service necessary to both reject and retain his salary. Since all the clubs in the league already passed on him at that modest $1.2MM price point, it’s likely that he’ll simply forgo the open market and report to Salt Lake.