40-man roster, Rule 5 draft

Dave · September 6, 2004 at 2:29 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

This post has been edited to reflect the decision to not call up Rene Rivera, as previously reported

It’s a holiday and I feel guilty for not posting much last week, so I’ll knock this out now. As I mentioned in the callups post below, adding Rene Rivera to the 40-man roster puts the Mariners in a bit of a bind for roster spots this coming offseason. The M’s have several mid-tier prospects who project as possible role players at the major league level that will be available to anyone with $25,000 in the rule 5 draft if the M’s do not place them on the 40-man roster this offseason.

The 40 man is composed of the active 25-man roster as well as 15 prospects from the minor leagues. The rules of eligibility for the rule 5 draft are pretty complex, but here’s a basic summary. Any player drafted in 2001 or earlier needs to be on the 40 man roster or they will be exposed to the rule 5 draft. College draftees from the 2002 draft need to be protected, but most of the high schoolers do not (it depends on your age). Don’t worry about not seeing guys like Felix Hernandez on the list below; he doesn’t need to be on the 40 man, and he’s not available in the rule 5 draft.

Below is my projection on how the fourty spots will be allocated and which players the M’s will potentially see plucked from the system.

Guaranteed to be on the roster

Miguel Olivo
Scott Spiezio
Bret Boone
Jose Lopez
Justin Leone
Raul Ibanez
Randy Winn
Ichiro Suzuki
Bucky Jacobsen
Jamie Moyer
Gil Meche
Bobby Madritsch
Ryan Franklin
J.J. Putz
Shigetoshi Hasegawa
Matt Thornton
Clint Nageotte
George Sherrill
Julio Mateo
Eddie Guardado
Joel Pineiro
Rafael Soriano
Jamal Strong
Travis Blackley
Cha Seung Baek
Luis Ugueto
Chris Snelling
Jeremy Reed

That’s 28 guys who you can say with almost absolute certainty that the M’s will have on the 40 man roster next year. Of those 28, you would expect Baek, Blackley, Nageotte, Strong, Snelling, Ugueto, Reed and Thornton to begin 2005 in the minors. That means that the team will need to sign, at a minimum, three free agents to fill out an active 25-man roster. In reality, the team will probably sign 4 or 5, but for now, we’ll just assume they fill the roster with three players. That means we’ve got 31 guaranteed roster spots from the above players and the trio of new guys, leaving 9 roster spots for the rest of the organization.

Guys who are on the 40 man now who will probably still be here next year

Scott Atchison
Willie Bloomquist
Greg Dobbs
Ramon Santiago
Aaron Taylor
Rett Johnson

It’s not a mortal lock that Wee Willie is back next year. He’s starting to get near the service time levels to demand more than the league minimum and the new manager won’t share Melvin’s appreciation for Bloomquist’s ability to out-and-out suck. It would be an upset, but not out of the realm of possiblity, if the M’s decided to ship Bloomquist off in favor of a new utility man. Dobbs, Santiago, and Taylor have enough fans in the organization to stick around, and the team has vested enough in Rett’s comeback to see if he can eventually get back to where he was in 2003 to cut him loose now. If these 6 players all stick around, that puts the roster at 37, leaving 3 spots open.

Guys on the 40 man who may be designated for assignment

Jeff Heaverlo
Aaron Looper
Hiram Bocachica
Masao Kida
Mickey Lopez
Brett Evert

Actually, I’d expect all six of these guys to be DFA’d at the end of the season, with a minor league contract offered to each. The M’s did this with Ryan Anderson and Ryan Christianson after injuries ruined their prospect status, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Heaverlo and Looper continue the tradition. Assuming that none of these six make the cut (and the M’s only sign three free agents), that leaves three open spots to protect the eligible rule 5 prospects in the system.

Legitimate prospects who need to be added to the 40 man roster this winter

Bobby Livingston
Shin-Soo Choo
Rene Rivera
Mike Morse

Morse’s suspension probably won’t cost him a 40 man spot, and Livingston and Choo are mortal locks to get added. Rivera is the odd man out now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they find room for him somehow. That brings us to 40, and this is assuming the M’s only sign three free agents. For each free agent they sign above three, the M’s will have to clear a spot by either designating a current roster player for assignment or leaving one of the three prospects above unprotected. They won’t let Choo or Livingston go, and Morse is a longshot, so the odds would be on a guy like Atchison getting DFA’d.

Possible rule 5 selections that the M’s will leave exposed

Ryan Christianson
Jared Thomas
Rich Dorman
Ryan Rowland-Smith
T. A. Fulmer
T. J. Bohn
Josh Ellison
Greg Jacobs
Hunter Brown
Jon Nelson
Jon Huber
Cesar Jimenez

Once you get past Fulmer, the rest of those guys are pretty long shots to get selected. Christianson’s health will probably scare off most teams, so I doubt he goes either. Thomas, Dorman, and Rowland-Smith are all decent possibilities, exactly the type of pitchers who usually gets taken in the rule 5 draft. Also available, but not listed, is the epic bust of the Frank Mattox era, Michael Garciaparra. And how bad was the 2002 M’s draft? Not one of the college selections is going to be protected this year, and right now, I wouldn’t project any of the high school kids to be protected next year either. It’s likely that no member of the M’s 2002 draft class will ever reach Seattle. That was an abominable draft of historic proportions. A failure like that in normal society would cost several people their jobs. Frank Mattox, a year (and another abymsal draft) later, got a promotion. I’m just saying…

Losing those guys wouldn’t be a huge blow, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Dorman or Rowland-Smith turned into effective relievers within the next few years. The M’s have painted themselves into a bit of a roster crunch, and the awarding of multiyear contracts and 40-man roster spots to terrible players may end costing them actual talent.


20 Responses to “40-man roster, Rule 5 draft”

  1. jeff on September 6th, 2004 2:44 pm

    Can’t they protect a full forty players by waiting to sign free agents after the draft. The players would still need to be DFA’d but teams do this all the time.

  2. Dave on September 6th, 2004 2:54 pm

    Players are less likely to get picked in the rule 5 draft than they are to clear waivers after being DFA’d. If you want to keep Dorman around, putting him on the 40 man only to DFA him later is a sure way to blow it. Since all of these newly added players would have their full complement of options, a team would simply have to claim them and then option them to the minors to continue development. By selecting them in the rule 5 draft, they’d be forced to carry them on the major league roster all year. Trying to sneak a prospect with options remaining through waivers is very dicy.

  3. jc on September 6th, 2004 3:14 pm

    Randy Williams will get rule 5 if they dont protect him as well.His numbers are so much better then thorton and clints numbers its sick but i guess there tired of the cheap indy players out pitching the million dollar bonus babies.The 2 best theve brought up have been sherrill and bobby.LOL WHAT A SCOUTING SYSTEM.

  4. michael on September 6th, 2004 3:14 pm

    Hmm, what about injuries? I thought players on the DL didn’t count against the 40 man roster, i.e., if you’re injured, you’re still protected, but you can put another player on the 40 man to take their place. Haven’t the M’s done this the past year or so with Snelling? Along with some Meche and Anderson before he was DFA’d? I know injured folks don’t count against the 25 man, so maybe I’m confusing the two.

  5. David J Corcoran on September 6th, 2004 3:20 pm

    Injured Folks on the 60-Day DL do not count on the 40-Man.

  6. Dave S. on September 6th, 2004 3:33 pm

    Well, that would be Soriano, and I’m not sure they’d want to do that because 60 day DL would count towards his service time clock.

  7. Paul Forrest on September 6th, 2004 3:40 pm

    One name I’m sure you clearly meant to include on next year’s “Guaranteed” list – Jeremy Reed. Adding him to the other 28, adds more fuel to your points about a roster squeeze, and the price that might be paid for all the 3-year contracts given out by Bavasi.

  8. David J Corcoran on September 6th, 2004 3:41 pm

    Sori is already on the 60-Day.

  9. Paul Covert on September 6th, 2004 3:44 pm

    Isn’t it correct, though, that the 60-day DL only applies during the season?

  10. David J Corcoran on September 6th, 2004 3:52 pm

    Rivera is not getting the call.

  11. tede on September 6th, 2004 4:49 pm

    Since Bavasi has already traded Benny Looper’s son, what’s gonna stop him for DFA’ing Pat Gillick’s son Luis Ugeuto? I don’t what Luis is facing having to leave Tacoma for home, but out of sight out of mind as shown by the Mickey Lopez call up.

  12. Allen Jacobs on September 6th, 2004 5:02 pm

    I thought Ugueto left the team…I would DFA him. Oops, that only leaves us with Santiago as emergency SS.

  13. Jerry on September 6th, 2004 10:32 pm

    When is the rule-5 draft? Does the team have any time to trade players before the draft.

    If so, it would give them options. They could package some of their relievers and some other players for one or two guys. Trading five players for two better players could help the M’s avoid loosing guys for nothing. This could be a good plan for teams like Cleveland, Cincinati, and Philadelphia, who need relief help. Since we have a glut of relievers right now (Sherrill, Soriano, Mateo, Kida, Putz, Taylor, Shiggy, Guardado, Thornton, Atchison, Looper, Madritsch?, Franklin?, Nageotte?), why not package some relievers for a position player or two?

    Also, if the M’s eat about 1/2 to 2/3 of Spiezio’s contract, they could probably get a team to take him. It would at least open up a spot for a player who might possibly help the team.

    This is assuming that the Rule-5 draft is after the date when teams can trade players again.

    By the way, how long after the WS is it when can teams start trading players? And what about free agents? Is there a site that has these dates?

  14. Josh B on September 6th, 2004 11:25 pm

    Anybody else think they might give Spezio another shot like they did with Cirillo? They’ll probably get the local media to hype how improved he’s been playing in spring training and all that crap…

  15. Jon Wells on September 7th, 2004 1:30 am

    It seems like some of the “locks” for the ’05 40 man will either be traded or outrighted. Ugueto would be one that could be outrighted without too many tears being shed. I can see them trading Jamal Strong because as good as seems to be he doesn’t seem to have a future in this organization unless the new manager decides that Randy Winn should go and that Strong should be on the ’05 roster as a fourth OF (regardless of whether or not Jeremy Reed or a FA is starting in the OF).

    I can see them outrighting Ramon Santiago and trading either Leone or Dobbs, esp. so if they sign or trade for a 3B (or move J. Lopez to 3B and acquire a SS). No matter how well Atchison pitches I think he’s still a candidate to be outrighted or traded just because of the numbers crunch.

    They’ll need a backup catcher on the 25 man opening day roster so they’d better have a 40 man spot for him too, whether it be Dan the Awful or someone else (another passed ball for Olivo tonight, yeah!)
    When I heard about the “surprise” callup I was kinda hoping for it to be Greg Jacobs but I guess that would only have gotten in the way of seeing enough of Jeremy Reed in September anyway.

    With Bloomquist starting at first five times in the last week it seems, isn’t it time to move Ibanez to first so they can get a good look at Reed? Or would that get in the way of Bob Melvin’s stated goal to play the veterans this September (I guess he considers Willie a vet) because that’s the only fair thing to do with the teams they’re playing in contention for the post-season (the bozo actually said that on today’s pre-game show…). Reed had better be in the starting lineup on Wednesday…

  16. Jon Wells on September 7th, 2004 1:52 am

    According to Tuesday’s News Tribune, Rene Rivera was sent from Tacoma to join Inland Empire for their playoffs and will likely be brought up by the Mariners when Inland Empire’s season is over…That still causes a 40 man problem unless Rivera is on next year’s roster, which he won’t be (or shouldn’t be). Rather than calling up Rivera, who they won’t play anyway, why not call up Jim Horner, who retired after yesterday’s Tacoma game? They could just take him off the roster at the end of the year (Rivera will have to remain on the 40 man or be exposed to waivers).


  17. Jim Thomsen on September 7th, 2004 10:51 am

    I argued elsewhere against the sentimentalizing of September callups, but I think Jon’s idea is a good one. I’ve interviewed Horner a few times and find him a good, thoughtful guy who, subjectively, I’d like to see get a line in the Macmillan Encyclopedia. But beyond that, he can be an emergency catcher, and hit no worse than Pat Borders — he actually can fill a present need, albeit a marginal one.

  18. Dave on September 7th, 2004 12:17 pm

    Horner’s hip is so screwed up that he can only catch once a week. He wasn’t an option as the third catcher for health reasons, mostly.

  19. J on September 7th, 2004 2:38 pm

    It’s been my understanding that players that are below a certain age (19, I think) and come into a US team’s minor league system are given four years to start out as opposed to the three given for college players and higher. Given that, I think Cesar Jimenez, who was 17 when he debuted in 2002, gets another year. Aside from that, the math seems to be right.

  20. Shawns on September 9th, 2004 7:08 pm

    Please for god’s sakes tell me why anyone in the organization is a fan of ramon santiagos. Seriously! This explains why the team was put together so poorly this season. Bavasi said that he thought Carlos Guillen and Santiago were basically the same type of players. What is the possible upside of Ramon? I just dont get it.