Jason Heyward is back from the disabled list after being out since April 21 following an emergency appendectomy.
Heyward made it clear right away that he wasn’t going to rush back, targeting late-May, and ended up missing 23 games. Atlanta went 9-14 without Heyward after starting the season at 13-4, although considering he was hitting just .121 the hot start had nothing to do with him and fill-ins Evan Gattis, Reed Johnson, and Jordan Schafer certainly weren’t any worse.
Along with activating Heyward the Braves also placed reliever Jordan Walden on the DL with shoulder inflammation. Acquired from the Angels for Tommy Hanson this offseason, Walden has a 4.85 ERA in 13 innings while posting a very strong 16/3 K/BB ratio, but he was scored on each of his last three appearances.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.
Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.
The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.