Little has been written about it, because it mostly involves guys on the fringes of the roster and won’t actually be interesting unless someone notable goes unprotected in the Rule Five draft or otherwise leaves the organization, but Blue Jays have a bit of a 40-man roster crunch heading in their direction. On Wednesday evening, they announced that they’ve taken one step toward alleviating it… sort of.
TBJ Roster move – Rhp Bo Schultz, Rhp Cesar Valdez and OF Darrell Cecilliani have been outrighted off the Major League roster.
— Blue Jays PR (@BlueJaysPR) November 1, 2017
These three players were all on the 60-day DL, so not technically counting against the 40-man roster anyway, for the moment. This, then, is the easy step in what could be a difficult process — and one that will see a bit of activity from the club, some of it that might genuinely be at the very least mildly interesting!
From here, the Jays first need to get four more players currently on the 60-day DL, Aaron Sanchez, Troy Tulowitzki, Devon Travis, and Dalton Pompey back on the 40-man. That won’t be difficult, because spots will be freed up when players begin to file for free agency. At that point five free agents, Brett Anderson, Darwin Barney, José Bautista, Miguel Montero, and Michael Saunders, will relinquish their spots to the four left on the DL. That will leave just one 40-man spot remaining.
Tammy Rainey did some excellent work on this subject back in September for BP Toronto, and gave us the names of the following prospects-of-interest who would be eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 draft if not protected: Danny Jansen, Max Pentecost, Connor Greene, Thomas Pannone, Reese McGuire, Rowdy Tellez, Jordan Romano, Roemon Fields, Francisco Rios, Jason Leblebijian, Chris Smith, Andrew Case, Chad Girodo, D.J. Davis. And players who would be six-year minor league free agents, Tom Robson, Angel Perdomo, John Stilson, and Murphy Smith. (Mike Bolsinger was on Tammy’s list as well, but he elected free agency in late October, along with Lucas Harrell, Nick Tepesch, Jeff Beliveau, T.J. House, Brett Oberholtzer, and Mike Ohlman, as reported by Matt Eddy of Baseball America.)
There are some names on there!
Tammy writes: “From this group I’d argue that The first [seven] are of great interest to the team. Further, if they could find a way to squeeze Rios, Robson, and Perdomo on they would.”
That sounds about right to me, but if the Jays are going to get all of them protected from selection in the Rule 5, it means making quite a bit more room than the one space that will be freed up by the subtraction of the five free agents and the addition of the four guys on the DL.
Fortunately there are a bunch of guys who could also be cut loose to create that room.
Taylor Cole, Matt Dermody, Raffy Lopez, Luke Maile, Carlos Ramirez, Harold Ramirez, Rob Refsnyder, Chris Rowley, Luis Santos, and Dwight Smith Jr. immediately jump out as potential cuts who are currently on the 40-man. Jumping out immediately from that group, though, are Carlos Ramirez and Chris Rowley as guys the Jays might want to keep. Or… I mean, they might want to keep all of these guys, but not at the expense of a Pannone, or Greene, or Pentecost.
Another thing that the club could do here is move some of their non-tender candidates. Ezequiel Carrera, Ryan Goins, Tom Koehler, and Aaron Loup are all players who are arbitration eligible this winter, and may have some trade value. Wouldn’t they inevitably bring back pieces you’d want on the 40-man? Oh, probably. But it’s another way to potentially free up spots on the 40-man.
November 20th is the deadline for clubs to file their “reserve lists,” aka to solidify their 40-man rosters ahead of the Rule 5 draft, which takes place on December 14th. Clubs are still able to make changes to their rosters between November 20th and the end of the Rule 5, but during that period club’s can’t move players from their minor league reserve lists to their big league 40-man.
In layman’s terms, by November 20th, the Jays are going to have to move a few youngsters onto their 40-man, and to do so will have to move some fringy guys off of it. Like they, kinda, in the most technical sense, have done with the move they announced today. TASTE THE EXCITEMENT!