Los Angeles Angels make surprising roster moves

The Los Angeles Angels optioned four players to the minors, including Ryan Buchter and Michael Hermosillo, who both seemed to have a good chance of making the Opening Day roster.

The Los Angeles Angels announced on Wednesday that they have optioned four players to Triple-A Salt Lake. Luke Bard, Ryan Buchter, Michael Hermosillo, and Jared Walsh were all sent down. Additionally, Taylor Cole, who had been designated for assignment in order to make room on the 40-man roster for Ryan Buchter, cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Salt Lake.

Cole has the right to reject his assignment to the minors since this will be the second time he has been outrighted, but with the entire Major Leagues on hold in light of the coronavirus, he will probably accept his assignment until he has a better picture of whether another team would be willing to sign him, perhaps when (if) Spring Training opens up for a second time this year.

I wrote about the potential role Ryan Buchter could play in the Angels bullpen earlier this week. He is the only lefty reliever on the 40-man roster with experience pitching in high leverage situations. I’m surprised to see he was optioned considering his unique value, and given the fact the team put him on the 40-man roster only a few days ago, seemingly as a hint that he was headed toward the active roster. I would expect him to find his way to the majors if a season is played.

Another player I am somewhat surprised to see on this list is Michael Hermosillo. The outfielder was a candidate to fill out Joe Maddon‘s bench as a right-handed bat who could platoon with Brian Goodwin, and provide speed on the base paths. He also had an impressive spring, hitting 9-20 with two home runs. This move, coupled with the fact that Jared Walsh (who was 3-20 during the spring) was also optioned, suggests that Taylor Ward is a strong candidate as a bench player on the Opening Day roster.

Luke Bard was the other player sent to the minors on Wednesday. This is no surprise, as the 29-year-old still has command issues to sort out in the minors before he is ready for a regular role out of the Angels bullpen. While he showed flashes of effectiveness last season, his 4.78 ERA/4.81 FIP was the product of his propensity to serve up the long ball. He gave up eight home runs in just 32 appearances.

Next: Is now the time for Griffin Canning to consider surgery?

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