The Angels have signed left-handed reliever Ryan Buchter to a minor league contract and invited him to Major League camp this spring, tweets Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic. He’s represented by The L. Warner Companies.
Buchter, who turned 33 earlier this week, is making the rounds in California, as he’s also spent time with the Athletics and Padres organizations in the past few seasons. The late-blooming southpaw didn’t even make his big league debut until he was 27 and didn’t pitch a full campaign in the Majors until his age-28 season. However, Buchter has now racked up 214 innings in the big leagues and never posted a single-season ERA higher than last year’s 2.98 mark. He boasts a career 2.86 ERA with a 4.01 FIP, 9.9 K/9, 4.0 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9.
It may be surprising to some that a pitcher with those run-prevention number was non-tendered and subsequently relegated to a non-roster invite after camp had opened. But Buchter’s effectiveness has waned a bit in recent years. His control in 2019 was the worst of his career, and while he was effective against both left- and right-handed hitters earlier in his big league tenure, right-handers clobbered Buchter at a .274/.420/.484 clip last year. Given the implementation of the new three-batter minimum, some clubs were surely skeptical of his ability to retire right-handed opponents.
That said, Buchter is an eminently reasonable flier for the Halos to take. The base salary he’ll receive upon making the big league roster won’t be particularly substantial, and if he performs well the Angels will have the opportunity to control him through the 2021 season via arbitration. Buchter even has a pair of minor league option years remaining, which would give the Angels all the more flexibility should he land a spot on the team.