The Angels have been granted a fourth minor league option over both right-hander Jaime Barria and lefty Dillon Peters, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. Both were among a group of players waiting for an arbiter to rule on how the truncated length of the 2020 season determined their eligibility for a fourth option.
Teams can be granted a fourth option over players who have fewer than five “full” seasons but have exhausted all three of their original minor league options. The league’s rules stipulate that 90 or more days on an active big league or minor league roster — but not time on the injured list — constitutes a “full” season. In the wake of last year’s shortened schedule and 67-day season, there was some uncertainty as to whether several players were out of options or whether their teams would be granted a fourth.
In the case of the Angels, the additional options are welcome news — particularly with regard to Barria. The Halos certainly would’ve carried the 24-year-old righty on the Opening Day roster rather than expose him to waivers, but they’ll now have the flexibility to option him back and forth in 2021 without exposing him to waivers.
At present, they’ll open the season with Dylan Bundy, Andrew Heaney, Jose Quintana, Griffin Canning, Alex Cobb and Shohei Ohtani in a six-man rotation. There was no immediate starting job for Barria, and had he been out of options, he’d have likely been put into a long relief role in the ’pen to begin the year. The team can now keep him stretched out as a starter at their alternate site and (when the season begins) in Triple-A, upgrading their depth. For an Angels club that has been routinely decimated by injury in recent seasons, that extra flexibility and depth could prove vital.
Peters’ situation differs a bit, given that he was outrighted from the 40-man roster after clearing waivers over the winter. His option will only come into play if the Angels select him back to the 40-man roster, although the fact that he now has an extra option probably makes it likelier for him to be considered for such a move.
Barria sandwiched a rough 2019 season between strong showings in 2018 and 2020. On the whole, he’s pitched 244 1/3 innings of 4.46 ERA ball in the Majors, striking out a below-average 19.3 percent of opponents but also delivering a low 8.0 percent walk rate. He’s likely a back-of-the-rotation type starter, making him a nice depth option for the 2021 season and perhaps setting him up for a larger role in 2022 and beyond. Bundy, Heaney, Quintana and Cobb are all free agents at season’s end.