Angels send 19-year-old prospect Mike Trout back to Double-A

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Mike Trout was called up from Double-A when Peter Bourjos landed on the disabled list, so when Bourjos returned last week there wasn’t much room in the lineup for the Angels’ stud prospect.

They kept him around for a while as a bench player, but have rightly decided that the 19-year-old outfielder will be much better off playing regularly again and have sent him back to Double-A.

In fact, Trout announced the move via Twitter long before an official announcement was made.

Trout going back to the minors isn’t shocking, but his returning to Double-A is somewhat surprising given that he hit .324 with a .950 OPS in 75 games there before the call-up.

Choosing to send him back to Double-A rather than Triple-A suggests the Angels either don’t plan on Trout getting called up to stay for a while or are convinced he’s better off not posting ridiculous numbers in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Or maybe both. He turns 20 years old next week, so there will be plenty of time to knock around Triple-A pitchers if the Angels want to see Trout do that before he arrives in the majors for good. Whatever the case, he’ll likely be back in September and possibly for the playoffs.

Phillies, RHP Taijuan Walker reportedly agree to 4-year deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – The active Philadelphia Phillies added Taijuan Walker to their rotation on Tuesday, agreeing to a $72 million, four-year contract with the right-hander.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

It was the second major free-agent score for the Phillies at the winter meetings after they reeled in shortstop Trea Turner on Monday with a $300 million, 11-year deal. Walker and Turner join a Phillies team that made it to the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros.

The 30-year-old Walker went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts this season for the New York Mets, one of Philadelphia’s biggest NL East rivals. He slots into a rotation fronted by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

The Phillies recently lost pitcher Zach Eflin in free agency to Tampa Bay.

Asked about the market for Walker earlier in the day, agent Scott Boras said it was robust.

“As you can see in the marketplace, there’s a whole number of pitchers that are throwing 60 and 70 innings that have been pursued, probably with the exception of (Jacob) deGrom, at the lower end of threshold around $13-15 million a year because the demand for quality pitching is so great,” Boras said.

“So, Tai … is one of the younger ones, one of the more durable ones and we expect him to be pursued greatly as his market unfolds.”

Walker was selected by Seattle with the No. 43 pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2013.

Walker signed with New York as a free agent in February 2021. He turned down a $7.5 million player option last month in favor of a $3 million buyout, making his deal worth $17 million over two seasons.

The 6-foot-4 Walker made the All-Star team for the first time in 2021, putting together a fast start before fading to a 7-11 record with a 4.47 ERA in 30 games, 29 starts.