The Angels announced a series of roster moves, recalling right-hander Jimmy Herget and selecting catcher Chris Okey. In corresponding moves, righty César Valdez was designated for assignment while catcher Chad Wallach was placed on the 7-day concussion injured list . Sam Blum of The Athletic reported on the moves prior to the official announcement (Twitter links).
Valdez, 38, was just selected to the club’s roster yesterday. At that time, it seemed like he was there in case the club needed someone to eat multiple innings of long relief. José Suarez only last 2 2/3 innings on Sunday and Chase Silseth had to throw 3 1/3 innings of relief to get the club through that game. With Suarez then placed on the IL and Silseth seemingly ticketed to replace him in the rotation, the bullpen was a bit vulnerable going into Monday’s night game. But Patrick Sandoval was able to toss 6 1/3 frames last night and the Halos finished out the contest using only two relievers, Matt Moore and Carlos Estévez.
With the bullpen a bit more refreshed and an off-day coming up on Thursday, it seems they decided they could get by without Valdez and have designated him for assignment just about 24 hours after he was added to the roster. The veteran has been in and out of the majors over the years, having recently leaned hard into being a changeup specialist. He’s thrown the pitch 76.7% of the time over his 49 appearances dating back to the start of the 2020 season, posting a 4.84 ERA in that stretch.
The Halos will now have a week to trade Valdez or pass him through waivers. In the event that he clears, he would have the right to reject an outright assignment and elect free agency by virtue of having a previous career outright.
As for Herget, he will get a chance to get his season back on track after a rough start. He registered a 6.23 ERA through his first eight appearances and got optioned down to Triple-A Salt Lake. That was a disappointing dip from the encouraging breakout he had last year when he had a 2.48 ERA, eventually earning nine saves and six holds. Since being optioned, he has a 5.40 ERA in five appearances despite strong strikeout and ground ball rates of 28% and 50%, respectively. A .462 batting average on balls in play and 83.3% strand rate likely inflated his ERA but his 16% walk rate surely played a part as well.
Turning to the backstops, the Halos have been doing a bit of scrambling behind the plate this year. Max Stassi has been on the injured list all year with a hip injury and personal issue while Logan O’Hoppe had his hot start ended by a torn labrum that’s going to cost him four to six months. Chad Wallach was added to the roster over two weeks ago to join Matt Thaiss as the club’s catching tandem but will now join Stassi and O’Hoppe on the injured list.
All of that has created an opening for Okey, who made his major league debut with the Reds last year, though he got just 13 plate appearances in seven games. He was outrighted off the club’s roster in July and reached free agency at season’s end, signing a minor league deal with the Angels. He’s made 45 trips to the plate for the Bees so far this year but has hit just .125/.205/.225 in that time. His overall Triple-A batting line is a bit better, coming in at .208/.283/.333 in 401 plate appearances dating back to 2019.
In one other note relating to the Angels, Suarez won’t require but will be shut down from throwing for four weeks, per Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. He’ll have to ramp back up at that point, meaning he likely won’t be available for a couple of months. He seems likely to be replaced by Silseth, who will join Sandoval, Shohei Ohtani, Tyler Anderson, Reid Detmers and Griffin Canning in the club’s six-man rotation.