Major League Baseball granted an extra, fourth option year for both Jaime Barria and Dillon Peters, the Angels announced on Wednesday, a busy day for roster activity.
The Angels plan on using a six-pitcher rotation, but with Dylan Bundy, Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning, Shohei Ohtani, Jose Quintana, and Alex Cobb are slotted to start, that meant for Barria to make the opening day roster he’d have to be in the bullpen. Now, that’s not necessarily the case.
Barria and Peters both used option years in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Normally a player only gets three option years, but if those are used before a player completes five full years as a professional a fourth option can be granted. There were a number of MLB players — Adbert Alzolay of the Cubs, Erick Fedde of the Nationals were some others — subject to an arbiter deciding on how to treat the truncated 60-game 2020 season. Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register explains:
A “full season” is defined as 90 days on an active roster, but the entire 2020 season lasted less than 90 days, so the issue was whether that counted.
The arbiter ruled that any player who had at least 34 days in the big leagues in 2020, which pro-rates to 90 days, was considered to have a full year, and the other players in the grievance weren’t. Barria was on the Angels roster for 29 days in 2020.
Barria was one of the Angels’ most effective pitchers in 2020, posting a 3.62 ERA and 3.65 FIP with 27 strikeouts in 32⅓ innings. The 24-year-old was originally signed as an international free agent out of Panama in 2013.
Now both Barria and Peters can be optioned in 2021. For now it’s more applicable to Barria, since Peters was sent outright to the minors, off the 40-man roster, on February 13. Peters, who is a non-roster invitee in Angels spring training, would have to first be added back to the 40-man roster this year before he can be optioned. But in case that happens, it adds a bit of extra roster flexibility for the team.
Rule 5 return
Pitcher Jose Alberto Rivera, who was picked by the Angels in the Rule 5 draft in December, was returned to the Astros on Wednesday, per Jake Kaplan at The Athletic.
Rivera's velocity was down from his usual upper 90s and into the low 90s during his spring training with the Angels. He was also late to get started because of visa issues.— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) March 24, 2021
The 24-year-old right-hander appeared in only one Cactus League game this spring for the Angels, striking out one in a scoreless inning, though pitched in a handful of B games.
Sending Rivera back to Houston opens up a 40-man spot for the Angels, who figure to add Jose Quijada, who was placed on the restricted list on March 2 but has since reported to camp after visa issues.
The Angels could next week also add a non-roster invitee or two from among the group of Juan Lagares, Jon Jay, or Josh Rojas.