The Angels announced (Twitter link) that their waiver claim of left-hander Christian Friedrich has been reversed and he has been returned to the Rockies based on “medical evaluation.” The Rockies announced that Friedrich, who had been designated for assignment prior to being claimed by the Rockies, has subsequently been released. The Angels’ announcement includes the following statement:
“Based on Friedrich’s initial medical evaluation, the Angels raised a concern with the Commissioner’s Office about Friedrich’s ability to play at his accustomed level. Upon evaluation of the circumstances by the Commissioner’s Office, it was determined that Friedrich would be returned to the Rockies.”
Friedrich, 28, was selected 25th overall out of Eastern Kentucky University back in 2008, but he’s struggled for much of his pro career, amassing an ERA north of 5.00 at both the Triple-A level and in the Major Leagues. This past season, Friedrich posted a 5.25 ERA with 6.9 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and a 47.4 percent ground-ball rate in 58 1/3 innings of work. He’s typically performed considerably better away from Coors Field, however, and has also posted stronger numbers against lefties than against right-handed hitters.
While the Friedrich situation is rather uncommon, it’s not unprecedented and has even happened somewhat recently, when the Rangers returned left-hander Edgar Olmos to the Mariners after claiming him last spring — just under one year ago.
The entire situation stings for the Angels, who claimed Friedrich and designated infielder Taylor Featherston for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Friedrich’s arrival. Featherston was subsequently traded to the Phillies — Philadelphia GM Matt Klentak, a former assistant GM with the Halos, clearly seems to be a fan — and they’ll now effectively lose Featherston for nothing, as he was traded for cash considerations or a player to be named later. Considering the fact that the Halos carried Featherston, a Rule 5 Draft pick prior to the 2015 season, on their roster the entire year but used him incredibly sparingly in a season where they missed the postseason by a single game, the entire process will probably leave a bad taste in the mouths of fans.