Baseball

Angels Sign Cole Tucker To Minor League Deal

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The Angels recently signed infielder Cole Tucker to a minor league deal, per the transactions log on Tucker’s MLB.com player page.

Tucker, 28 in July, was a first-round pick by the Pirates in the 2014 draft. He made his big league debut with the club in 2019 at the age of 22, but hit just .211/.266/.361 in 56 games during his rookie season. That remains his career high for games played in the majors to this day, as he would go on to spend the next several seasons shuttling between the majors and Pittsburgh’s Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis. While he built up a decent career line of .250/.350/.382 at the Triple-A level during those seasons, his performance at the big league level left something to be desired as he slashed a paltry .211/.256/.291 in 98 games with the Pirates between 2020 and 2022.

Eventually, the Pirates designated Tucker for assignment in May of 2022 to make room for infielder Yu Chang on their 40-man roster. Shortly thereafter, Tucker was claimed by the Diamondbacks. Unfortunately, he slashed just .237/.297/.325 at the Triple-A level across 35 games in the organization and never made it to the majors with the club. Tucker found himself designated for assignment once again and was assigned outright to the minors in early July. That led Tucker to become a free agent for the first time in his career ahead of the 2022-23 offseason.

Tucker didn’t spend very long on the market, as he signed with the Rockies on a minor league deal in early December. He posted some of the best numbers of his career during his time in the Rockies organization, slashing a solid .280/.391/.407 in 321 trips to the plate with the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque before getting the call back to the big leagues shortly after the trade deadline. Tucker enjoyed a hot streak while in the majors with Colorado, gathering four hits and a walk in ten plate appearances. Unfortunately, those ten trips to the plate were the only ones Tucker would get in a Rockies uniform, as he was designated for assignment by the club shortly after being selected to the majors in both August and September of last year.

The switch-hitter returned to free agency this winter and lingered on the market until the end of January, when he landed a minor league deal with the Mariners. His time in Seattle was short-lived, however, as he was granted his release last month just before the season began so he could pursue a new deal elsewhere. He’s now found that deal with another AL West club in the Angels. The 27-year-old offers minimal power and has generally struggled at the plate throughout his big league career, but he does offer a switch-hitting bat and plenty of versatility that could make him a decent depth option for a bench spot in case of injuries.

Tucker has experience at every position on the diamond except catcher from his time in the minor leagues, and as a big leaguer he’s spent time at second base, shortstop, center field, right field, and even made a one-inning cameo at first back in 2021. Tucker figures to head to the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake City for the time being, where he’ll look to prove his stronger offensive numbers in 2023 weren’t a fluke and position himself as the next man up in case of an injury to the big league club alongside fellow non-roster veterans like Jake Marisnick and Hunter Dozier.

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