The Angels announced a number of moves before tonight’s game with the Astros. Los Angeles selected first baseman/corner outfielder Trey Cabbage, recalled infielder Michael Stefanic and reinstated Zach Neto and Matt Moore from the injured list.
In corresponding moves, the Halos placed Anthony Rendon, Jo Adell and Sam Bachman on the IL. All three placements are retroactive to July 11. The position players will be eligible to return a week from now, while Bachman is out until at least July 26. In a final transaction, infielder David Fletcher has already cleared waivers and was outrighted off the 40-man roster to clear a spot for Cabbage.
On the positive side, Cabbage gets his first MLB look. The left-handed hitter was a fourth round selection of the Twins out of a Tennessee high school back in 2015. He played in the Minnesota system through 2021, topping out at Double-A. After becoming a minor league free agent, he joined the Halos.
Cabbage has spent the entire season at Triple-A Salt Lake. He has demonstrated interesting physical tools, connecting on 23 home runs and stealing 24 bases in 84 games. Even in the Pacific Coast League, his .287/.358/.576 batting line is better than average. He and Adell share the league lead in homers, and he’s fifth among 68 PCL hitters (minimum 200 plate appearances) in slugging.
He’ll add a left-handed power bat to Phil Nevin’s bench. Cabbage has gone down on strikes at a lofty 31.3% clip in Triple-A and has posted elevated strikeout totals throughout his career. The swing-and-miss has kept him from reaching the majors before his 26th birthday, but the huge power production in the upper minors earns him a look.
Cabbage is the latest member of an Angels’ infield that has gone through numerous recent iterations. Injuries to Neto, Gio Urshela and Rendon led the club to acquire Mike Moustakas and Eduardo Escobar. Neto is back at shortstop tonight after a month-long absence because of an oblique strain. That pushes Andrew Velazquez to the bench, while Luis Rengifo draws in at third base.
Rendon is dealing with a left shin contusion after fouling a ball off his leg a week ago. He told reporters the injury hasn’t healed as hoped and declined to answer when asked if he was engaged in any baseball activities (via Sam Blum of the Athletic). Adell has a left oblique strain. Bachman has inflammation in his throwing shoulder; Nevin told reporters he’ll be shut down for a brief period but isn’t expected to require a long-term absence (relayed by Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com).
Neto’s return squeezed Fletcher off the roster for the second time this season. The Halos also ran him through waivers in April. They re-selected his contract in late June but sent him back down after 11 games. Fletcher has gotten into 19 MLB contests on the season, hitting .213/.245/.298. He’s been far better in Salt Lake, putting up a .383/.431/.478 slash with more walks than strikeouts over 197 plate appearances.
Fletcher is making $6MM this season and under contract for the same amount through 2025. The $24MM extension he’d signed two years ago has given him ample financial security but ensured the Angels can send him through waivers without losing him. No other team is going to assume that money on a claim.
The latest demotion is timed so that the Halos can keep Fletcher in the organization as a non-roster player. He entered the season 61 days shy of the five-year MLB service threshold. He has picked up around 39 more days this year. Players with over five years of service time can decline a minor league assignment while retaining their entire contract; those with between three and five years would need to forfeit their guaranteed money to do so. Fletcher certainly isn’t going to pass on the money remaining on his deal, so the preemptive outright before he gets to five service years will keep him in Salt Lake.