The Angels announced Tuesday that first baseman Jared Walsh went unclaimed on outright waivers and has accepted an assignment to Triple-A Salt Lake. He’ll remain in the organization but no longer occupy a spot on the 40-man roster.
Walsh broke out with a hefty .280/.331/.531 slash and 38 home runs in 176 games from 2020-21, cementing his place on the Angels’ roster in the process. However, the now-29-year-old late bloomer has seen his production plummet in the two seasons since, due largely to alarming health issues. Walsh underwent thoracic outlet surgery last summer, ending his season after 118 games of .215/.269/.374 output at the plate.
The 2023 season has been even more concerning. Walsh was placed on the injured list early in the season due to persistent headaches and insomnia. Walsh detailed his struggles in an interview with Blum earlier in the season: “It’s been hell. Not knowing what’s going on, not understanding what’s happening with my body….And not being able to get answers, not being able to figure out why I can’t do basic tasks. It’s been pretty concerning for me.”
Walsh was thankfully at least able to return to the field, but the results have been nowhere near his peak levels. In 78 big league plate appearances, he’s batted just .119/.244/.224 while striking out in a third of his plate appearances. He’s batted .231/.394/.410 in 99 plate appearances since being optioned to Triple-A, but he’s still fanned in 30.3% of those trips to the plate.
Between those struggles, the uncertainty surrounding his health, and the approximately $883K that’s still remaining on this year’s $2.65MM salary, Walsh didn’t drum up any interest from other clubs. He could’ve rejected this assignment in favor of free agency, but doing so would’ve required forfeiting that remaining $883K. As a player with more than three years of service time who’s been outrighted off the 40-man roster, he’ll be able to become a free agent at season’s end — unless the Halos add him back to the 40-man roster and keep him there into the offseason.