Angels infielder Gio Urshela was placed on the injured list this week due to a pelvic fracture and now it seems like the issue might prevent him from returning again this year. Manager Phil Nevin relayed the news to reporters, including Sarah Valenzuela of the Los Angeles Times. Urshela won’t need surgery but he will need to be shut down for six weeks and then will require at least six weeks of ramp-up time after that. Given that timeline, it will be very difficult for him to make it back to the Angels this year.
Urshela, 31, was acquired in an offseason trade from the Twins, with pitching prospect Alejandro Hidalgo headed the other way. Urshela was coming off a solid season in Minnesota, hitting .285/.338/.429 for a wRC+ of 119 while providing solid third base defense. However, he was set to make a projected $9.2MM via arbitration in his final season before free agency, so the Twins flipped him to Anaheim. The latter club and Urshela eventually went to a hearing with the Halos emerging victorious, leading to the infielder making $8.4MM this year instead of his desired figure of $10MM.
The addition was a sensible one for the Angels, as they have often fielded a roster with plenty of star power but a lack of depth and complementary pieces. They opted to try to fill multiple holes by bringing in solid and versatile players like Urshela, Brandon Drury and Hunter Renfroe. Overall, the plan has worked quite well as the club is having their best season in years, currently 41-34 and currently in possession of a playoff spot. But they will now have to proceed without Urshela in the mix.
Zach Neto and Anthony Rendon have each landed on the injured list in recent days as well. That forced the Halos to turn to the likes of Andrew Velazquez, Michael Stefanic and Kevin Padlo in the short term. Upgrading the infield via trade next month seems a possibility. The Halos figure to be aggressive to capitalize on a chance to make the postseason in Shohei Ohtani’s final season of club control. Los Angeles enters play Wednesday at 41-34, tied with the Astros for the final Wild Card spot in the American League.
From Urshela’s perspective, it’s a brutally timed injury. He’ll likely close his platform year with a modest .299/.329/.374 showing in 62 games. While the projected timeline suggests he’s likely to have a more or less typical offseason, he’ll hit the open market coming off an injury-shortened year.
Next offseason’s free agent infield class appears very thin. Matt Chapman tops the group, but there aren’t many other productive regulars trending towards free agency. Jeimer Candelario is having a decent season in Washington, while Whit Merrifield is playing fairly well for the Blue Jays but entering his age-35 campaign. Amed Rosario is probably the top shortstop option, but he carries a .229/.303/.346 line in 65 contests.