The baseball industry was left stunned as the Los Angeles Angels made a shocking move by placing a significant portion of their roster on waivers. Players such as Lucas Giolito, Matt Moore, Reynaldo Lopez, Dominic Leone, Hunter Renfroe, and Randal Grichuk were all exposed to potential claims. This unexpected turn of events has sparked a flurry of intrigue as teams prepare for the reveal of the winning claims on Thursday.
Waivers allow teams to essentially give away players for a nominal fee and salary relief. From now until Thursday, teams can place claims on the players, who are still allowed to play in the meantime. The team with the worst record on Thursday will be awarded the player, and since they will be on the team’s roster before September 1st, all claimed players will be eligible for the postseason.
In addition to the aforementioned players, there are other notable names on waivers, including Harrison Bader, Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger, and Jose Cisnero. The Angels stand to save approximately $7 million in salary if all six of their players are claimed, potentially allowing them to push their payroll below the competitive-balance tax threshold. This move would have the added benefit of granting them a higher compensatory draft pick if Shohei Ohtani leaves as a free agent.
The magnitude of this player dump is almost unfathomable, considering where the Angels were just a month ago. They made significant moves to acquire players like Giolito, Lopez, Grichuk, and C.J. Cron in an effort to solidify their roster and compete for a postseason spot. However, since the trade deadline, the team has struggled, posting a 7-18 record, the worst in the majors. Additionally, injuries to key players like Ohtani and Mike Trout have further derailed their season.
The teams most likely to benefit from the Angels’ decision are those towards the bottom of the playoff table. The Miami Marlins, with a .500 record, are expected to pursue bullpen help, while the Cincinnati Reds, with their pitching struggles, could be an ideal landing spot for Giolito. Other teams in the mix include the Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants, and Chicago Cubs.
Teams eager to claim these players will have to wait until Thursday morning for the standings to be determined. According to MLB rules, if there is a tie between an American League and National League team, the AL team would have priority. If the tied teams are in the same league, the team with the worst record in 2022 would have priority.
Considering the high cost of acquiring players like Giolito and Lopez at the trade deadline, the opportunity to obtain them for a minimal fee is seen as a gift for struggling teams. Giolito, in particular, has not performed up to expectations with the Angels, posting a 6.89 ERA in six starts. However, Lopez has been impressive, with a 2.31 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 11⅔ innings.
The players affected by this waiver situation have expressed their surprise and uncertainty. Giolito admitted to learning the news on social media and acknowledged the unpredictable nature of the business side of baseball. Lopez, on the other hand, remained focused on his current situation but acknowledged that he is prepared for whatever might come next.
Regardless of where these players end up, the Los Angeles Angels find themselves in a dire situation. With a lack of postseason appearances in recent years, their hopes of building a competitive team around superstar Shohei Ohtani have fallen flat. The offseason signings and acquisitions aimed at contention have not panned out, leading to this drastic decision to place multiple players on waivers. It is a disappointing end to a season that once held high expectations.
The Los Angeles Angels’ decision to place a significant portion of their roster on waivers has sent shockwaves through the baseball industry. The outcome of this waiver process will have significant ramifications for both the Angels and the teams vying to claim these players. Meanwhile, the Angels must grapple with their disappointing season and reassess their strategies moving forward.