13:16: Walsh has been placed on the 60-day IL, the Angels announced. This officially ends the season of the first baseman in 2022.
10:06 am: The Angels announced a series of roster moves ahead of today’s game with the Rays, including the news that Jared Walsh has been placed on 10-day injured list due to thoracic outlet syndrome. infielder Phil Gosselin was also appointed for the assignment. Filling the two grid spots is catcher Matt Thais (called from Triple-A), and first baseman Mike Fordwhose contract was selected from Triple-A.
Thoracic outlet syndrome is a condition much more commonly seen in pitchers, making Walsh an outlier as a position player. Although Walsh attracted some attention as a two-way player early in his career and during his time in the Angels farming system, he has only pitched 26 2/3 professional innings, and none since 2019. Most pitchers undergoing surgery to avoid TOS. It’s not the same in terms of performance after his return to the mound, but it remains to be seen if Walsh does indeed need surgery, or how such a procedure could affect his future production as he’s not pitching.
Even if Walsh opts for a treatment without going under the knife, it looks like the rest of his 2022 season could be in jeopardy. With the Angels out of the fray, they would seemingly have no reason to bring Walsh back into action.
Walsh hit .280/.338/.531 over 693 PA with the Angels in 2020-21, taking seventh in the 2020 Rookie of the Year voting and a place on the AL All-Star team of 2021. However, 2022 was a much bigger battle as the 29-year-old contributed just 15 home runs and a .215/.269/.374 slashline. Despite a decent defense at first base, this poor offensive production has resulted in an overall sub-replacement-level performance for Walsh, who has -0.5 fWAR and -0.6 bWAR.
Even in 2020-21, Walsh has below-average walk and strikeout rates, but those numbers have dropped further in 2022 — Walsh’s 30.4% strikeout rate places him in just the sixth percentile of hitters. It also hits with much less power, with an isolated power of just 0.158 (versus 0.354 in 2020 and 0.232 in 2021). This fall has robbed the Angels of an important bat in their lineup, as Los Angeles has gotten very little from players other than Mike Forel, Shohei Ohtani, Taylor Wardand the emerging Luis Rengifo.
Gosselin had enough MLB service time to turn down an outright assignment to Triple-A, assuming he releases waivers and the Angels don’t release him. The Angels claimed in mid-July that Gosselin was given waivers from the Braves, and the veteran utilityman went on to play 22 games for Anaheim, mainly as a third baseman. Unfortunately, Gosselin provided very little attack, with only a .269 OPS over 51 at bats.
Gosselin has made only sporadic appearances at the plate throughout his 10 Major League seasons, with a career .254/.305/.349 slashline over 1199 PA. The 33-year-old has played for seven different big league teams, and this is his second stint with the Angels, having played 104 games with the Halos in 2021.
Ford is in today’s starting lineup as the clearer, putting Ford in action for a fourth different Major League team this season. The first baseman appeared in 22 games in tandem with the Giants, Mariners and Braves, with San Francisco and Seattle ping-ponging him back and forth between their rosters and Atlanta released earlier this month by San Francisco and Seattle. He signed a new minor league contract with Los Angeles in mid-August and could now be lining up for consistent playing time if Walsh misses most or all of the rest of the season.
In 2019, Ford came on the scene with 12 home runs and a .909 OPS over 163 PA as a rookie with the Yankees. Since that initial breakout, however, he has fallen to a .138/.267/.253 slash-line in 206 PA since the start of the 2020 season, and the Yankees parted him to the Rays in June 2021. Ford also finished on track at the Nationals on a waiver claim later in the 2021 season, turning it into quite the whirlwind of organizational change for the Princeton product in just 14 months.