The 40 Man Roster Crunch
As noted by Ken Rosenthal tonight, the M’s are going to have to start making some decisions on 40-man roster guys in the next couple of weeks. The team is at the 40 man limit, but several of the players penciled into the opening day roster are in camp on minor league contracts, and will have to be added to the 40 man roster before the season starts. Adam Kennedy is basically a lock for a spot at this point, and it seems likely that the fourth outfielder job will go to either Ryan Langerhans or Gabe Gross, with Michael Saunders headed back to Tacoma for more seasoning. With Miguel Olivo gimpy, they might also need to carry bring Josh Bard north to fill a catching spot, and depending on how the bullpen shakes out, there could be a non-roster guy or two down there that needs to be added as well.
Rosenthal put out the possibility of the M’s needing to open up five spots. I’d say it’s probably going to be four, but five isn’t completely out of the question. Where will the M’s find those spots?
There’s three that are very easy to identify from my perspective.
As Rosenthal notes in the same column, Garrett Olson is already on waivers, and he seems to be unlikely to make the team after the acquisition of Aaron Laffey. Since he’s out of options, the team will likely either ship him elsewhere or outright him to Tacoma. Either way, he’s probably not long for the 40-man roster.
It’s also pretty unlikely that Rule 5 pick Jose Flores is going to make the team either. He hadn’t pitched in a Cactus League game since March 7th coming into today, and after walking three guys in 2/3 of an inning (raising his spring training ERA to 12.27 in the process), he hasn’t exactly made a strong case for himself. Given that the team is already starting with a somewhat shaky bullpen out of the gates, they probably can’t afford to carry Flores, and he’ll either be offered back to Cleveland or they’ll strike a deal that lets them send him to the minors after he clears waivers.
On the position player side of things, Mike Carp has no real future with the organization, and given how common his skillset is, he’d be a pretty easy guy to replace even if he was grabbed off waivers. Carp might have a career as a back-up first baseman on a bad team, but he offers little upside and isn’t worth a 40 man spot, especially not to the Mariners right now.
I’d put decent money on those three being removed from the 40 man roster before spring ends. After that, its a little more speculative. There are quite a few guys who are all equally disposable, including Chaz Roe, Josh Wilson, and Matt Tuiasosopo. Tui has an option left and could be sent to Tacoma without passing through waivers, so he’s probably the least likely option. Brendan Ryan‘s acquisition made Josh Wilson nearly useless, but his ability to fill in as an outfielder might convince them to keep him around, given the lack of confidence that Milton Bradley, Starting Left Fielder engenders. If they do decide to keep Wilson, then a guy like Roe could be sacrificed, as the organization has no shortage of right-handed sinkerballers with no out pitch.
None of these guys are likely to be missed in the future, so these aren’t super painful decisions, but the 40 man roster you see today is going to look pretty different come April 1st.