According to the Angels organization, Jose Miguel Fernandez and Parker Bridwell have been designated for assignment.
The club has added starters Jose Suarez and Luis Madero to the 40-man roster, as well as upstart infielder Luis Rengifo.
As worthwhile pieces at the next level, the additions of Suarez and Rengifo were to be expected onto the 40-man roster. Madero may catch some off-guard, but his strength in the Cal League this year (9.34 K/9, 2.44 BB/9 across nine starts in High-A) point to the development of once-nascent offspeed offerings. Furthermore, Madero has exhibited control of the strike zone. These two developments point to the potential viability of Madero in the bullpen, a possibility high enough to the point where the Angels organization believed it would be a worthwhile move to protect him.
Bridwell’s DFA is seemingly surprising, but he has battled injuries all year and analytics clearly point to his 2017 success being an anomaly. Jose Miguel Fernandez is that of a feel-good story, a Cuban defector who signed with the Dodgers and put up strong offensive numbers in the minors only to be cut. He came onto the Angels roster midseason and initially impressed in his flexibility around the diamond, but wasn’t able to get on base at an acceptable level (.309 OBP in 123 PA, though the overall production parlayed into a 94 wRC+). Fernandez’s flexibility is nice to have, but his production will not be missed.
Others which may have been designated from assignment from the 40-man but were not: Miguel Almonte, Jesus Castillo, Austin Brice, Luke Farrell, Kaleb Cowart, Jabari Blash
Minor leaguers which may have been added to the 40-man roster but were not: Jared Walsh, Conor Lillis-White, Luis Pena, Joe Gatto, among others.
The reason for transaction mayhem? Protecting players from the annual Rule 5 Draft in December. Player eligibility for this is as follows:
Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft who are not on their major league organization’s 40-man roster and:
were 18 or younger on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is the fifth Rule 5 draft upcoming; or
were 19 or older on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is the fourth Rule 5 draft upcoming.
Selecting another team’s player to be added onto another organization’s 25-man roster costs $100,000.
The Rule 5 Draft exists to discourage teams from stockpiling young players in their farm systems if other organizations are willing to give them better-paying MLB positions.