The Los Angeles Angels have officially announced their 26-man Opening Day roster, with 14 pitchers and 12 position players making the cut. This is exactly what Joe Maddon said would happen when he confirmed that there would be six starting pitchers and eight bullpen spots available.
After a huge week of free agent additions and trades in the days before Thursday, the final roster doesn’t have many surprises. Its biggest change comes in the bullpen, where seven of the eight players were not on the Angels last season, including newcomers Steve Cishek and Tony Watson.
Felix Pena, who was one of the Angels top bullpen options last season, will start the year on the Injured List, but should be put directly on the big league roster once he’s healthy. Ty Buttrey, Patrick Sandoval, and Jaime Barria were all optioned to the Minors despite being major pieces in 2020.
While it’s no longer a shock given the decision was made over one week ago, Luis Rengifo was optioned to make room in the infield for Jose Rojas. The sixth infield spot undoubtedly belongs to Franklin Barreto, but he was placed on the 60-Day IL due to a hamstring strain.
One of the most recent roster decisions that could be considered unexpected was the choice by Maddon and Perry Minasian to put Chris Rodriguez on the Opening Day roster. Rodriguez will be making his MLB debut at age 22 after back injuries delayed his development.
It’s important to note that these rosters will not stay this way for the entire season, but will fluctuate as the year progresses. This could be due to injury, performance issues, or impressive play from those currently in the Minors or at the Alternate Training Site.