The Angels announced Tuesday that they've added left-hander Jose Suarez, infielder Luis Rengifo and right-hander Luis Madero to their 40-man roster, shielding the trio of prospects from next month's Rule 5 Draft. Infielder Jose Fernandez and right-hander Parker Bridwell were designated for assignment to clear space on the club's 40-man
The Angels announced Tuesday that they've added left-hander Jose Suarez, infielder Luis Rengifo and right-hander Luis Madero to their 40-man roster, shielding the trio of prospects from next month's Rule 5 Draft. Infielder Jose Fernandez and right-hander Parker Bridwell were designated for assignment to clear space on the club's 40-man roster, which is now at capacity.
Suarez, 20, has emerged as one of the Angels' most advanced pitching prospects after climbing from Class A Advanced Inland Empire to Triple-A Salt Lake in 2018. Ranked as the club's No. 8 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Suarez logged a 3.92 ERA with 44 walks and 142 strikeouts over 117 innings across three Minor League levels this past season. He should be ready to serve as rotation depth for the Angels next year.
Acquired from the Rays in exchange for C.J. Cron in February, Rengifo (No. 10 prospect) enjoyed a similar ascent and reached Triple-A Salt Lake in his first season in the Angels' organization. The 21-year-old switch-hitter batted a combined .299 with an .851 OPS across three affiliates and led all Angels farmhands with 41 stolen bases. Rengifo will have the opportunity to make an impact for the Angels next year, as general manager Billy Eppler has already said he will enter Spring Training with the chance to compete for a starting infield job.
Madero, 21, is not currently among the Angels' Top 30 prospects and has not pitched above Class A Advanced, but the Angels clearly valued his upside enough to extend him Rule 5 Draft protection. Acquired from the D-backs in exchange for reliever David Hernandez at last year's Trade Deadline, Madero posted a 3.49 ERA over 105 2/3 innings in 23 starts between Class A Burlington and Inland Empire in 2018.
Fernandez, 30, batted .267 with a .697 OPS in 36 games with the Angels this past season.
Bridwell, 27, was one of 2017's most pleasant surprises after recording a 3.64 ERA over 121 innings, but he was limited by injuries in '18 and posted a 17.55 ERA in five appearances for the Angels.
Among the most notable prospects who were left exposed to the Rule 5 Draft were infielder Leonardo Rivas (No. 15), right-hander Luis Pena (No. 18), right-hander Joe Gatto (No. 28), outfielder/first baseman Jared Walsh, right-hander Jeremy Rhoades, left-hander Conor Lillis-White and infielder Roberto Baldoquin. That group will now be eligible to be taken by another team during the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place on Dec. 13 at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.
Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.
The Angels have bolstered their catching depth by signing catcher Dustin Garneau to a Minor League deal. Garneau, 31, has spent parts of four seasons in the Majors with the Rockies, A's and White Sox, batting .194 with a .590 OPS in 88 career games. He joins rookie Jose Briceno and Kevan Smith as potential catching options for the Angels in 2019.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter.