The Angels announced this evening that they have assigned catcher Chad Wallach outright to Triple-A Salt Lake. The club designated Wallach for assignment on Friday, clearing the way for top prospect Logan O’Hoppe to make his return from injury. Wallach has enough service time to reject that assignment, if he so chooses, though he would forgo the remainder of his 2023 salary in doing so.
Wallach, 31, shared time behind the plate with Matt Thaiss for the Angels throughout much of the season thanks to injuries to both O’Hoppe and Max Stassi, the club’s initially planned tandem. Wallach performed admirably in the role, with a wRC+ of 84 in 149 trips to the plate that leaves him roughly middle of the pack among catchers with that many plate appearances this season. Wallach paired that decent offensive production with a solid glove and had the look of an above-average backup catcher throughout his time in Anaheim this year.
That being said, Wallach cooled significantly over his last two months with the club. In 67 trips to the plate since June 17, Wallach hit an anemic .119/.200/.220 with a massive 38.9% strikeout rate. That significant decline with the bat combined with Wallach’s lack of options remaining likely contributed to the journeyman catcher going unclaimed on waivers. Now that he’s been outrighted to Triple-A, Wallach will have to decide whether to remain with the Angels in the minor leagues or test the waters of free agency.
Free agency might be an attractive route for Wallach, given the constant need for catching depth around the big leagues and his solid performance as a back-up this year. That being said, Wallach is likely the Angels’ first choice to join the roster in the event of an injury to O’Hoppe or Thaiss, a reality that could lead the veteran to decide he’s best off remaining in the organization as he searches for his next big league opportunity.