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OC Register: Angels recall David Fletcher, Jared Walsh


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David Fletcher and Jared Walsh, two players who seemed to be Angels fixtures a couple of years ago but have spent much of this season in the minor leagues, were both recalled from Triple-A on Thursday.

The Angels optioned rookies Kyren Paris and Jordyn Adams to Triple-A Salt Lake to create roster spots for Fletcher and Walsh. The Angels created 40-man roster spots by designating right-hander Gerardo Reyes for assignment and moving Luis Rengifo to the 60-day injured list. Rengifo is out for the season with a biceps tendon rupture.

Fletcher, 29, has hit .331 with four homers and an .810 OPS at Triple-A, but he’s only produced a .703 OPS since returning to Triple-A in July. Fletcher has hit .213 with a .543 OPS in 49 major league plate appearances this season. Since the start of the 2021 season, he has a .617 OPS over 942 plate appearances. He missed much of the 2022 season after having core muscle surgery.

In his first three years with the Angels, he produced a .292 average with a .732 OPS, including .319 and .801 in 2020.

The production earned him a five-year, $26 million contract just before the 2021 season.

That contract is precisely the reason the Angels have been able to keep Fletcher, even when they deemed his performance wasn’t worthy of staying in the majors. No team claimed him on waivers, because of the contract, and Fletcher also couldn’t reject a minor league assignment because he would have forfeited the rest of the contract.

Once Fletcher reaches five years of service time, he would be able to reject a minor league assignment and become a free agent, while keeping the contract. Because there are less than three weeks left in the season, Fletcher will still be under five years of service time at the end of the season.

Walsh, 30, was an All-Star in 2021, but he slumped in 2022 while dealing with thoracic outlet syndrome, and he missed the start of this season while undergoing treatment for sleep and neurological issues. After he was activated in May, he hit .119 with a .467 OPS and was sent down. He has hit .217 with a .735 OPS at Salt Lake, although he had hit three home runs in the past six games.

Walsh is arbitration-eligible this winter, so the Angels will have to decide by mid-November if they want to offer him arbitration or allow him to become a free agent. Walsh is making $2.65 million this year.

The two roster moves also slightly reduce the Angels’ payroll, which could be significant depending on how close they finish to the luxury tax threshold of $233 million. Walsh and Fletcher have guaranteed contracts, so their salaries were already included in the major league payroll even when they were in the minors. But now Adams and Paris are no longer receiving their major league salaries. The Angels still count their Triple-A salaries as long as they remain on the 40-man roster, but the difference is about $3,200 per player, per day.

If the Angels finish the season with Fletcher and Walsh instead of other minimum-salary players, it would knock about $116,000 off the total payroll.

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