Breaking down the Los Angeles Angels roster in terms of minor league options.
Before we look at the specifics of the Los Angeles Angels’ roster, it is important to understand the mechanics of minor league options. For every player on the 40-man roster, they are given three minor league options. These options are exercised on a seasonal basis. When a player on the 40-man roster is sent down to the minors for at least 20 days, the team has exercised one of the player’s three options.
After exercising an option in a given season, the player can be sent down and called back up between the majors and minors as many times as the team desires. But once a player has been “optioned” to the minors in three seasons, they are out of options; and therefore, they must pass through waivers before being sent down to the minors in future seasons.
The Angels will begin to make decisions impactful to their available options when they break camp for the regular season and must choose 14 players from their 40-man roster to option to the minor leagues (given the new 26-man active roster size).
Manager Joe Maddon will decide on the best roster based on merit and positional need, but he must also consider the ramifications of optioning a player the team might lose through the waiver wire.
There are currently seven players on the Angels 40-man roster who are out of options:
These seven represent the players the Angels would risk losing on waivers if they optioned them to the minor leagues this season. Let’s look at whether that will be a problem for the front office to consider.
Dylan Bundy and Hansel Robles will obviously play key roles on the team this season, so there is no need to worry about their minor league options. The same can be said of relievers Noe Ramirez and Cam Bedrosian. Brian Goodwin will get plenty of playing time to start the season, manning right field against right-handed hitters until Jo Adell proves he is ready to be called up and take on everyday duties.
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Max Stassi has seemingly recovered from hip surgery and is penciled in as the backup catcher to Jason Castro. Anthony Bemboom had a strong outing over the weekend, but this is an area where minor league options are key to consider.
Bemboom has two remaining options, while Stassi is out of options, so even if Bemboom somehow jumped Stassi as the best back-up catcher, it makes more sense to exhaust the possibility of Stassi as the back-up than it does to risk losing him while giving a chance to Bemboom. Catching prospect Jack Kruger could become a factor later in the season if the team feels they need to put him on the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.
Mike Mayers was claimed off waivers from the Cardinals in November. In 5.2 innings of work this spring, he has demonstrated his ability to strike people out (11 K’s), but he is far from a guaranteed out in the bullpen. He could be a candidate for the waiver wire, considering his inconsistency and low cost, but given that the Angels carried him through the winter and Spring Training, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a big league chance before possibly being waived later in the season.
All in all, the Angels don’t find their hands tied too much by minor league option limitations. The majority of players who are out of options will be fixtures on the roster this season. Look for Mike Mayers as the most likely candidate to eventually test the waiver wire.