Editor's note: Please welcome Tigerdog1 to the Bless You Boys writing staff as a contributor. He's been a valuable contributor of FanPosts since joining -- and especially during the first month of the offseason -- so it was only logical to ask him on board. -- Kurt
Things are going to heat up a little bit this week around major league baseball. By Friday, clubs must submit "reserve lists" to the MLB office. By Nov. 23, clubs must decide whether to offer arbitration to their own free agent players in order to receive any compensation should those players sign elsewhere. So what does this mean for the Detroit Tigers?
The term "reserve lists" is just a fancy term for rosters. In the case of major league rosters, teams can reserve up to 40 players that will be protected during the Rule 5 draft that will take place at the end of the winter meetings on Dec.8 in Dallas. The Tigers currently have 34 players on their 40 man roster. That is after removing the free agents: Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen, Ramon Santiago, Wilson Betemit, Joel Zumaya, Brad Penny, and after removing Brad Thomas, who was outrighted after the season. This leaves the Tigers with six spots to add players that the club plans to keep on it’s 40 man roster to start the 2012 baseball season.
Under the current rules, players are eligible for the Rule 5 draft four seasons after they signed their first professional contract, or five seasons in the case of a player who was under 19 years of age at the time of signing. Translation: Players who were drafted out of college in the 2008 draft (the Ryan Perry draft), and players who were drafted out of high school in the 2007 draft (the Rick Porcello draft), must be added to the roster or the club risks losing them in the Rule 5 Draft in December.
Thus, it is easier to get a player through the Rule 5 draft than it would be to clear the player through regular waivers during the season. A player claimed on regular major league waivers can be sent to the minors as long as he remains on the 40-man roster. This means that a club will not protect a player at this time if there is a chance that they’ll have to remove them from the roster later on to make room for a free agent that might be acquired.
Okay, names. You want names. Players who were drafted out of high school, along with Rick Porcello, in the June, 2007 draft, include infielder Danny Worth (who is already on the roster), lefty starter Casey Crosby, and reliever Matt Hoffman, who is currently pitching in the Arizona Fall League.
Players who were drafted out of college along with Ryan Perry in the 2008 draft include Alex Avila and Andy Dirks who are on the roster. Pitchers Tyler Stohr, Cody Satterwhite, Robbie Weinhardt, Jared Gayhart, and Thad Weber, along with infielders Bryan Pounds and Brandon Douglas, and outfielder Justin Henry are in this group as well. Pitcher Jay Voss, who came to the Tigers from Florida in the trade for Nate Robertson, and infielder Gustavo Nunez, who was signed as an international free agent, are also Rule 5 eligible.
Of these players, the Tigers are almost sure to protect Crosby and Stohr. They probably will protect Voss, and possibly Hoffman and Nunez. Nunez was left unprotected in last year’s Rule 5 draft, but he is more advanced this year, having graduated to Double-A Erie. My guess is that the Tigers protect either Cale Iorg or Nunez, but not both. I can’t see Nunez on a major league roster for a full season, but maybe another club feels differently. His glove is said to be major league ready. Iorg is already on the 40-man roster.
So, let’s say that the Tigers add three players to the roster, bringing the total to 37 players. That leaves room to add three more players before the season starts, without having to make an immediate decision on removing players from the current roster.
One advantage to that is that the players that might be removed could be used in a trade without exposing them to waivers, and the possibility that they’d be lost without any return. Which players might be removed from the current 40 man roster? Again, strictly guessing: Iorg, Ryan Strieby, Luis Marte, or maybe Clete Thomas, if necessary. I don’t expect any of these players to be removed unless the organization has made a decision that they’re just not in the club’s plans, at least in the short term.
Tomorrow: Arbitration decisions are discussed.