Baseball is in a timeout right now and for the foreseeable future, but that didn’t prevent a little business from getting done on Sunday. The Angels optioned five players to Triple-A Salt Lake.
Pitchers Jaime Barría, Kyle Keller, José Quijada, and Taylor Cole, and catcher Anthony Bemboom were sent to the minors, which at this point is more procedural than anything since there aren’t any games going on.
Major League Baseball and the players union are still negotiating how to proceed during the coronavirus shutdown, and there is even a reported dispute between the two sides regarding players access to spring training facilities during the shutdown, per The Athletic. Among the items being negotiated, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post, is if and how players will be paid during any downtime. As that pertains to these players just optioned by the players, they would be paid at the minor league rate of their contract had the season progressed as usual, so that might factor in here.
Barría saw the most time in the majors last season of this quintet, posting a 6.42 ERA in 82⅔ innings, striking out 75 and walking 27 in his 19 games, including 13 starts for the Angels. The 23-year-old had a 4.38 ERA in a team-high 12⅓ Cactus League innings this spring, and was at least nominally in the mix for a spot in the major league rotation.
Even though spring training is officially suspended, these moves technically leave 50 players in big league camp, at least virtually — 25 pitchers, and 25 position players.