The 40 Man Roster Crunch

Dave · March 17, 2011 at 8:01 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

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.


11 Responses to “The 40 Man Roster Crunch”

  1. Lailoken on March 17th, 2011 9:09 pm

    Jimenez & his trouble with left-handed hitters is uninspiring as well (career .833 ops against in a small sample) He’s out of options like Jo. Wilson & Olson. If Laffey & French make the squad then Jimenez is likely sent packing.

  2. Dave on March 17th, 2011 9:28 pm

    Jimenez is probably battling Fabio Castro for a lefty bullpen spot. If they’re willing to DFA Jimenez, than Castro might make the squad. If they’re not, then Jimenez might stick.

    My guess is that they’ll want French to stay stretched out by starting in Tacoma if he doesn’t win the 5th starter job.

  3. Lailoken on March 17th, 2011 11:07 pm

    While I prefer a bullpen with lefties for matchup purposes, Jimenez scares me in that regard. He is a lefty that cannot seem to get lefties out. His velocity has been nice this spring (hitting 92 on radar guns that had Pineda at 97 according to PitchFX) but even in the minors left-handed hitters roughed him up.

    A bullpen of League, Ray, Lueke, Wright, Pauley, & Laffey plus one is alright to start. Thank goodness Aardsma & Kelley will be ready early in the season.

    If Saunders is in the minors for long I’ll worry about DTFT’s health. Langerhans has excelled in the corner spots but his career UZR/150 in CF is -6.8.

    I’d love it if the team could pull in Felix Pie as the fourth OF. Pie can excel in CF as his 8.2 career UZR/150 attests. Baltimore has Jones, Markakis, Scott, Reimold, & Winn with Pie out of options.

  4. J-Dog on March 18th, 2011 2:07 am

    Didn’t Josh Wilson’s contract have a clause that would allow the Mariners to pay him nothing if he was cut prior to Spring Training? I know that they don’t pay him very much, but the Mariners might want to pocket the savings.

  5. Leroy Stanton on March 18th, 2011 8:27 am

    Langerhans has excelled in the corner spots but his career UZR/150 in CF is -6.8.

    He has ~60 games worth of UZR data in center. Hard to draw any conclusions from that.

  6. Dave on March 18th, 2011 11:09 am

    And just like that, Olson is gone, claimed on waivers by the Pirates. There’s one open 40-man spot.

  7. sportsnw on March 18th, 2011 11:24 am

    Is it just me or have the Pirates become the Royals of this decade. It used to seem like every former Mariner would sign with the Royals but now I’m seeing former M’s end up in Pittsburgh all the time.

  8. Alec on March 18th, 2011 11:54 am

    They are not the Royals until they sign Willie Ballgame. Or I guess as this decades version, Josh Wilson.

  9. FelixFanChris420 on March 18th, 2011 10:54 pm

    I dont like the idea of sending Saunders to Tacoma. Isn’t this season about letting the kids play and seeing what we have going forward? Wouldn’t that goal best be served by running Saunders out there for 162 games and seeing how he responds. Seems to me Saunders has learned what he can learn at AAA and either he’s good enough to play in the show or not. Just my opinion, feel free to explain to me why I’m wrong if you disagree, Im curious as to the reasoning of the other side.

  10. gregry17 on March 19th, 2011 8:10 am

    Haven’t we learned about Milton Bradley? Don’t we understand that his previous patterns of behavior won’t just disappear. Why would carry cancer when we can treat it with a trade. Get rid of this guy like football teams discard Terrell Owens. His bad attitude is pervasive and we don’t need him. One player that has never played 162 games is Langerhans. He’s 30 now and has shortened up his swing to be a better than average hitter. His OBP is outstanding and never makes a mistake in the outfield. Plus, he busts his ass all the time and is a MATURE human being. Nintendo needs to wake up and trade the cartoon character….Let Langerhans play and bring in the kid Saunders if he hits a slump.

  11. bongo on March 19th, 2011 10:53 am

    Saunders has retooled his swing, and still isn’t comfortable at the plate, so he needs time in Tacoma to work on his hitting. If he tears up the PCL, he’ll be back on the major league club soon enough, since the Tacoma outfield is already crowded.

    What worries me more than Saunders is the poor performance of Adam Moore, Brendan Ryan and Justin Smoak at the plate. The Mariners didn’t hit in spring training last year and didn’t hit during the season either. I’m worried about starting the season with several players in a dismal funk.

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