Robert Stephenson injury: Angels reliever to miss 2024 season after signing three-year deal

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Los Angeles Angels reliever Robert Stephenson will miss the 2024 season with an undisclosed elbow injury, the team announced on Wednesday night. That means Stephenson will not throw a big-league pitch in the first season of his three-year pact with the Angels.

Stephenson, 31, signed that deal (worth $33 million) over the winter, after raising his stock with a strong 42-game showing with the Tampa Bay Rays. He compiled a 2.35 ERA (179 ERA+) and a 7.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio after introducing a new pitch. CBS Sports felt good enough about Stephenson to rank him as the 32nd-best free agent:

The Rays acquired Stephenson from the Pirates in a June trade that no one paid attention to at the time. Just 42 appearances later, we’re ranking him as a top-50 free agent. Stephenson introduced a cutter to replace his slider two weeks into his Rays tenure. He threw it 316 times over the remainder of the season, generating 60% whiffs and holding opponents to a .101 batting average. Stephenson’s cutter resembles his four-seamer’s movement profile, except it features more drop and comes in eight ticks slower. Batters couldn’t solve it. We suspect that will remain mostly true heading forward, making him a legitimate candidate to work high-leverage situations.

Stephenson appeared in a rehab game earlier this week, but called for the trainer and left the game after issuing a four-pitch walk. It was later reported that he was dealing with elbow soreness. He had previously been sidelined this spring with shoulder soreness.

According to the reported terms of Stephenson’s pact available at Cot’s Contracts, the Angels now stand to gain a club option for the 2027 season valued at $2.5 million — that would kick in if he spends “130 consecutive days on the injured list with an elbow ligament injury during 2024-26.”

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