Talking some 40-man
The Orioles are expected to make a few personnel moves prior to Friday’s midnight deadline for setting rosters in advance of next month’s Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla.
The O’s current 40-man roster is at 32, after a pair cleared waivers yesterday, leaving them with room right now to protect an additional eight, although I don’t think they will use all those spots. Keep in mind that clubs can add players through trades or free-agent signings. They can also continue to remove players, but the rules prevent clubs from adding players to their 40-man roster from within their organization after the deadline until the Rule 5 Draft concludes. That Draft is after the Winter Meetings, so it’s conceivable that the Orioles could leave a few spots open, particularly given that there aren’t a wealth of top prospects that need to be protected.
Players are generally eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if left unprotected after four or five pro seasons – four years for players who were 19 or older when they signed their first pro contract; five years for players who were younger than 19.
Adding top prospect Zach Britton is a near-certainty and fellow pitcher Wynn Pelzer -who the Os got in the deadline trade of Miguel Tejada – is a pretty safe bet as well. You don’t trade for a guy and a few months later leave him exposed, especially since Pelzer -who was listed quite high by Baseball America’s recent ranking of the O’s system – has an arm that projects to be suited to the bullpen, i.e., a quicker route to the Majors.
Others who would need to protected or risk being exposed are: Matt Angle, Ryan Adams, Tyler Henson, Joe Mahoney, Pedro Beato, Billy Rowell, Tim Bascom, Steve Johnson, Pat Egan, Brandon Cooney, Chad Thall, Brandon Waring and Robbie Widlansky.
For more info on the Rule 5 Draft and its potential impact (who could forget the Rays losing Josh Hamilton?) MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has a good story up here.
*I’ve gotten a few questions so here’s my completed unsolicited opinion on the Baltimore Sun’s report that the Orioles asking about the Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett. Tampa Bay reportedly countered by asking about David Hernandez. I don’t like the idea at all, and fortunately, it’s highly unlikely at this point. If you are going to trade a young, cheap arm that hits the upper-90s my thought is you better be getting back a bat. It’s all preliminary talks at this point –the Os also reportedly asked about the Twins SS, J.J. Hardy — but in my opinion, Hernandez is too good of a trade chip to waste on a slight upgrade of Cesar Izturis. Get the power bat first. Package Hernandez, or another young arm with a guy like Felix Pie for a middle-of-the-order bat or a true impact shortstop or starter. Not a potential rental.