Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hot Stove Update: The 40 Man Roster Is Full!

It's that time of year again.  Teams that want to protect players who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft have to either put the players in their 40 man MLB roster or expose them to the MLB phase of the Rule 5 Draft.  For those who are not familiar with the Rule 5 Draft, minor league players who were drafted prior to age 19 and who have 5 years or minor league service time OR players drafted at age 19 or above who have 4 years of minor league service time can be drafted by another MLB team.  That player then has to stay on the 25 man active MLB roster for the entire next season or be offered back to the team he was drafted from.  There are also minor league phases of the Rule 5 Draft which allow organizations to protect more players, but that is complicated to explain, although the Giants have been more active in the minor league phases in recent years.  Players drafted in the minor league phase do not have to be kept at any certain level and do not have to be offered back to the team they were drafted from.

So, the players who potentially needed to be protected this year included players drafted before their 19'th birthday in the 2011 draft or before and players drafted at age 19 or above in the 2012 draft or before.  The deadline for protecting players by adding them to the 40 man roster was yesterday at 5:00 PM EST.  As usual, the Giants waited until the last minute to announce their additions.  Usually teams like to leave at least 2 or 3 spaces open on the 40 man roster this early in the Hot Stove season so they have room to add free agents who may sign later on.  The Giants had 8 spots open on their 40 man roster. Somewhat surprisingly, they added 8 Rule 5 eligible minor leaguers at the deadline, all pitchers:

Clayton Blackburn
Ty Blach
Chris Stratton
Adalberto Mejia
Kyle Crick
Steven Okert
Ian Gardeck
Jake Smith

Some eligible players who got left off include Martin Agosta, Mitch Delfino, Ben Turner, Joe Biagini and Jason Forjet.

So what happens when and if the Giants sign a free agent?  They have made it quite clear that they are in the FA market for at least 1 pitcher and possibly 2.  They are also probably looking for at least 1 OF. First of all, they could fill their needs via trade using players currently on the 40 man roster.  They could also wait until after the Rule 5 draft on the last day of the Winter Meetings to sign a FA then try to sneak one of these players through waivers.  They also could drop a couple of arbitration-eligible players who they may not want to tender contracts to such as Yusmeiro Petit and Hector Sanchez.  You certainly have to think that the Giants are not planning on taking anyone in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 draft this year!


  1. I heard Joe Biagini is unprotected. The Red Sox were supposedly interested in him last year so maybe he gets chosen.

  2. Leaving Joe Biagini off took me by surprise. I figured his break-out with the Flying Squirrels would get him protected. But I guess not.

    I was also a bit confused about Gardeck & Smith until I read Pav's blurb on them then started digging around. They were a pair of high-octane relievers. Gardeck has a mid-90s fastball with heavy sink who was struggling with control. Smith was voted 'best reliever' in the Cal League by Baseball America and is another 'had control issues' guy that, from what I've read, solved his control issues and is ready to break out..

    Also, to me, it bodes poorly for Sanchez and Petit. I've already read a lot of 'Giants may not tender' Petit rumors the past few months and I think the sun has set on Sanchez with Brown playing reasonably well. But there's no reason to drop them from the 40-man until they have a FA in the pipeline.

  3. DrB, since Ian Gardeck and Jake Smith have only reached High A, is it that vital to protect them? If a team chooses them they will have to stick on another clubs 25 man roster for the entire year. It is not very common for prospects to go from High A to a MLB roster. I don't understand protecting them versus a guy like Biagini who is closer to being MLB ready.

    1. Not necessarily, Roger. Smith and Gardeck could both be selected in the minor league phase of Rule V and be kept without having to be placed on the 40 man. I am pretty sure Eugenio Velez was one of those picks for the Giants.

    2. Smith and Gardeck would be easily protected in the minor league phase because the protected list expands to something like 80 players.

      The reason why you protect them instead of Biagini is because the bullpen is the easiest place to stash a live arm for a season, so they are more likely to be drafted in the Rule 5 draft.