Like the rest of Major League Baseball teams, the Los Angeles Angels made a plethora of minor league roster cuts last week, including a few with prior big-league experience.
As Major League Baseball and the MLBPA continue to bicker back and forth over player salaries and the length of the schedule dictated by said payrolls, front offices appear to be in full cost-cutting mode, trimming their minor league rosters accordingly. That extends to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who recently cut players across seven affiliates.
As shown in a series of images tweeted by Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, the Angels opted to release a total of 39 players through all levels of their minor league system. Coupled with the sweeping furloughs imposed on their front office, scouts, and minor league employees earlier this month, the team has gutted their developmental side of the organization.
The moves came last week as a slew of similar transactions imposed across Major League Baseball. Like the rest of the league, the Angels are being forced to assess costs at all levels of the organization in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic and its delay of the MLB season. However, the moves to cut minor league employees come as a juxtaposition against the backdrop of fighting the MLB players’ union over their compensation, taking it away from an already underpaid group without a voice or control over their own fate in order to save pennies against the millions they battle over.
Likewise, the Angels remain one of the few teams that have not yet announced whether they intend to continue paying a stipend to minor league players. Most teams have already decided to extend those stipends, with the Oakland Athletics being the only team to decide against moving forward with paying MiLB players. There is also no current plan for a MiLB season, although there have apparently been internal discussions of expanding the Arizona Fall League to Florida and increasing the number of players in the leagues.
What notable players did the Angels release from their MiLB rosters?
Chief among those releases was former Braves pitcher Luiz Gohara. The Angels signed Gohara in August after he was released by Atlanta. The big lefty first appeared at the MLB level in 2017, going 1-3 with a 4.91 ERA over five starts. However, his underlying stats (2.75 FIP, 9.5 K/9) gave the impression that he was a potential breakout candidate. Unfortunately, he was relegated to the bullpen after missing all of spring training, and his effectiveness as a reliever was non-existent. Shoulder issues dogged him all of 2019, which led to his release by the Braves. He would make zero appearances for either organization and was not among those invited to camp with the Angels before the shutdown.
Right Fielder Dustin Peterson is another player with MLB experience. Unlike Gohara, Peterson received a camp invite and got in some work with the Angels during spring training, going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles in four games. He’s a career .215/.265/.304 hitter at the MLB level between the Braves and Tigers.
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The majority of the remaining releases appear to impact players that either fit into the “minor league depth signing” or “international signings that didn’t pan out categories”. Only Peterson and Gohara have MLB experience, but this nonetheless is a blow to a farm system that already ranked 26th in baseball according to MLB.com.