Urshela, 31, gives the Angels a veteran third man who also has some experience at shortstop and first base. He’s coming off a strong year, hitting .285/.338/.429 with 13 homers, 27 doubles and 64 RBI in 144 games with Minnesota last season. General manager Perry Minassian said he sees Orchilla as an everyday player who can split time between third base and first base, while also seeing occasional time at shortstop, second base, or in the outfield.
Angels receive: 3B Geo Orchilla
Twins receive: RHP Alejandro Hidalgo
“You’ve heard me say this a lot this season, but it’s about going deep and protecting ourselves in many different locations,” Minassian said. “He’s a really good player. He can do a lot of different things. Obviously his natural position is third base, but we feel he can play first. He can stand second and he can even fill the void short. So, just being able to add a player of that caliber To our group of players that we currently have, we thought it was the right move.”
The Angels were hit with a lack of quality depth last year, as they couldn’t sustain injuries to third baseman Anthony Rendon and outfielder Mike Trout. First baseman Jared Walsh also dealt with thoracic outlet syndrome all season, which limited his production and led to season-ending surgery in early September. Orchilla can now move around the field and fill that need, while also playing in the third position when needed for Rendon, who has had a history of injuries since joining the club in 2020.
Orchilla, a native of Colombia, is heading into his senior year of refereeing and was an underdog because he is slated for a raise next season. He earned $6.55 million last year and is likely to earn over $9 million this season. But it’s another indication that the Angels are ready to spend this off-season, too Signing left winger Tyler Anderson to a three-year deal worth $39 million earlier this week.
Orchilla is also familiar with manager Phil Nevin and hitting coaches Marcus Thames and Phil Blantyre from his time with the Yankees from 2019-21. Minassian said he has heard nothing but good things from the coaching staff about Orchilla, who is seen as a solid presence at the club as well.
“There is a history,” Minassian said. “When you have a hitting director and hitting coach around, there’s a huge level of comfort when you’re in that chair. It had a huge impact on pulling the trigger on this one.”
Urshela is known for his above-average defense, but his addition also helps the Angels add some connection to their lineup. The club led the Majors in strikeouts last year, while Orchilla made great strides in that regard, lowering his strikeout rate from 24.7 percent to 17.4 percent and calling on 81 percent of his swings. For context, the Angels hit 25.7 percent of the backs of their boards with a call rate of 75.1 percent.
“One of the things we’ve talked about is we’ve led the league in hitting, and we’re trying to find more contact,” Minassian said. “This is a player with the ability to put the ball into play, produce and show versatility.”
Meanwhile, Hidalgo made 10 starts for the Single-A Inland Empire last year, posting a 4.62 ERA with 58 strikeouts in 39 innings pitched. The 19-year-old, who is ranked No. 22 in the Angels per MLB pipeline, has a career 4.64 ERA in two seasons at the Minors, with 89 strikeouts in 66 innings pitched.
“It’s always tough to trade young players, especially a great kid with a good arm and a bright future,” said Minassian. “But at the end of the day, you have to give. I think he’s going to have a great career, and I hope this trade works out on both sides.”
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