Barria, Cole among Halos' roster moves

RHP Keller, LHP Quijada and C Bemboom also optioned to Triple-A

March 16th, 2020

TEMPE, Ariz. -- On the heels of Major League Baseball announcing the suspension to Spring Training, the Angels announced a series of roster moves on Sunday.

The most notable was being optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake, along with righties and , lefty and catcher . Barria had been vying for the fifth spot in the Angels’ season-opening rotation.

The transaction could create a more clear path for veteran to claim the final spot, with the caveat that uncertainty looms across the Majors as to when baseball will resume. The other candidates are , and .

Angels management raved about Barria entering camp 14 pounds trimmer, yet over his four Cactus League appearances, he gave up six earned runs and three homers over 12 1/3 innings -- first among Halos pitchers -- against the 51 batters he faced, for a 4.38 ERA. This after a disappointing 2019 season, when he went 4-10 with a 6.42 ERA over 19 outings (13 starts). Barria, 23, was on the outside looking in after he struggled to replicate his '18 rookie season, when he posted a 3.41 ERA in 26 starts over 129 1/3 innings.

Barria’s bid became even stronger after Griffin Canning was shut down for at least a month due to elbow soreness, which only compounded Shohei Ohtani’s recovery from Tommy John surgery. However, Ohtani will not be shut down from the throwing program that had him in line to return in May, Angels general manager Billy Eppler said on Friday.

Cole figured to be a candidate to be sent down at some point, given that he has one Minor League option remaining. Over 38 outings last season, including six starts, Cole compiled a 5.92 ERA despite a strong start to the season. In Cactus League play, the 30-year-old walked five of the 20 batters he faced and gave up three earned runs over four innings, while striking out eight.

Keller, who was acquired from the Marlins on Jan. 6 for Jose Estrada, gave up four runs in four innings against 19 batters in Spring Training.

Bemboom was also likely to be optioned after competing with Max Stassi for the backup catcher role. Bemboom slashed .235/.278/.412 over 18 spring plate appearances, and he’s a career .130/.145/.204 hitter over 56 trips to the plate.

Quijada, who made 34 big league appearances last year (5.76 ERA), pitched in four Cactus League outings, with a 2.25 ERA against 15 batters over four innings.