10:13AM: Back in April, the Angels optioned David Fletcher to Triple-A and then outrighted him off the 40-man roster. After two months in the minors, Fletcher is heading back to the Show, as FanSided’s Robert Murray (via Twitter) reports that the Angels are calling Fletcher back up to the active roster. The corresponding move isn’t yet known, but it marks something of a mini-overhaul of the Angels’ infield, between Fletcher’s return and yesterday’s acquisition of Eduardo Escobar from the Mets.
Fletcher had only two hits in his first 16 plate appearances of the 2023 season, leading the Halos to finally make a tough decision on a player who looked like a building block just a couple of years ago. Anaheim signed Fletcher to a five-year, $26MM contract extension in April 2021, and unfortunately, the infielder’s productivity has since tailed off. Fletcher hit .260/.295/.327 over 893 PA in 2021-22, with a hip injury costing him a big chunk of the 2022 campaign.
However, it looks like Fletcher might have found something at Triple-A Salt Lake, as he is hitting .378/.432/.478 over 197 PA. Fletcher does have a huge .407 BABIP, and numbers from the Pacific Coast League should be taken with a grain of salt in general given the league’s hitter-friendly nature, but it’s hard to argue that Fletcher hasn’t been doing all he can to earn another shot on the Angels’ roster.
In an interview yesterday with The Athletic’s Sam Blum (prior to the news of Fletcher’s call-up), Fletcher said he wasn’t sure why the Angels hadn’t already called up back up to the big leagues. There also seemed to be something of a lack of communication between Fletcher and the front office, as the infielder said “I haven’t heard much from them” since the Triple-A demotion, and that the team was somewhat vague on what it exactly wanted Fletcher to work on hitting-wise.
Anthony Rendon and Zach Neto are both on the Angels’ 10-day injured list, while Gio Urshela’s season may be over due to a pelvic fracture. These injuries have left Anaheim very thin in the infield, and while there may have been some question over why Fletcher hadn’t already been called up, the time is now for the Halos to again turn to the 29-year-old.
It remains to be seen how this new-look Angels infield will shake out, considering that both Fletcher and Escobar are multi-position players, and because some 40-man roster moves will have to be made to accommodate Fletcher’s return. Escobar will likely rotate between second and third base, while Fletcher could play either shortstop or second base. Brandon Drury has played the bulk of time at second base this season, but he has also seen a lot of time at first base, which could be a more viable option since Jared Walsh has struggled since returning from the injured list.