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Final Roster Cuts Shape Minor League Rosters

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on March 28, 2007

Today’s cuts that included the optioning of outfielder Jeremy Reed and catcher Rene Rivera to Triple-A Tacoma and Double-A West Tennessee will assist in the forming of the minor league rosters and make for some interesting decisions ahead for the player development department.

If Reed had made the big-league roster, or been traded as was expected by many this winter, Tacoma’s outfield would have likely consisted of Wladimir Balentien, Mike Wilson and Adam Jones, with Jon Nelson a backup.

With Reed warranting regular time, several things could happen that would not have otherwise, such as the release of Nelson, who has no future with the major league club.

It’s possible that Wilson or Balentien is sent back to Double-A. It’s also possible that Reed is still dealt to a club in need of an outfielder as the rosters around the league shape up.

Rivera’s presence in West Tenn doesn’t mean as much as one might think. The organization is obviously convinced that Rivera isn’t ready to hit in the majors, and they should be convinced that he never will. So, where does that leave Rob Johnson and Jeff Clement?

Maybe in the same exact place they were before today – Double-A West Tennessee for Johnson and Tacoma for Clement. The decisions are being made this week on the minor league rosters as well, though they have a few more days to sift through their plan for 2007.

Clement and Johnson are both much better off on different rosters. Having two catchers with a future in the bigs share time isn’t the best idea ever, and it seems the M’s are turning in a different direction than a year ago.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that both begin the year in the same spot, whether it be West Tenn or Tacoma, but more signs point the other way. It’s a wait-and-see.

Eric O’Flaherty was also sent down today, which means that Sean White, Jon Huber and Brandon Morrow are the three battling for the last spot in the pen, since Rhodes is almost certain to make the club. Morrow is a foregone conclusion, though there has been no announcement, and Mike Hargrove and Rafael Chaves are considering taking eight relievers north with them to give them an ample supply of arms for the first month of the season.

Yeah, I know, it’s stupid… but they are considering it. If they do, two of the three make it, likely Morrow and either White or Huber, and the big-league pen looks like this – Putz, Reitsma, Morrow, Rhodes, Sherrill, Mateo, Huber OR White, Woods.

Guessing the M’s keep White, since if they don’t they have to send him back to ATL, who have made it clear they’d like to have White back, and Huber has options left, Huber is probably the odd-man out.

Huber could combine with Ryan Rowland-Smith, Eric O’Flaherty, Sean Green, Carlos Alvarado, Renee Cortez, Aaron Small and Justin Lehr to make up a pretty darned good bullpen for the Rainiers. Lefty Brad Thomas is also a possibility here.

The Rainiers rotation should include Travis Blackley, Cha Seung Baek, Ryan Feierabend, Jorge Campillo, and possibly Robert Rohrbaugh, Small, Justin Thomas or Jim Parque.

The Infield — Bryan LaHair at first, with Oswaldo Navarro, Michael Garciaparra and Yung Chi Chen the likely infield starters, with the possibility that Jesus Guzman gets the nod as well.

Clement or Johnson will share time behind the plate with either Luis Oliveros or the other catching prospect, just as they did a year ago, and Guzman, Gookie Dawkins, Rey Ordonez, Mike Morse, Nelson, Ismael Castro and Tony Torcato are other options for DH and utility spots.

Ordonez and Morse are battling it out for the final spot on the major league roster.

That outfield might be really fun to watch, though, since Reed will be playing left with Jones in center. That’s a pretty solid defensive club with Navarro at short and Chen at third.

The Minor League Rosters should be released by the weekend, if not before, and while I won’t be making 400 phone calls to find them, if I get a hold of them before they are published, I’ll get them out as soon as possible.

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43 Responses to “Final Roster Cuts Shape Minor League Rosters”

  1. Lance said

    What are the roter limits at each level?

    With Reed going down I doubt either Wilson or Balentien starts at AAA. I’d think the outfielders would be Reed/Jones/Torcato/Morse/Nelson. Looks like Ordonez will get the nod on the big league bench as Hargrove said he’d like another right-handed hitting infielder in addition to Bloomquist. I’d have gone with Dawkins myself for that. They also probably prefer to get Morse more ABs so he can continue to learn to hit with some authority.

    BTW, M’s lead Rangers 9-0 in the fourth. Sexson just blasted one out. Beltre already has. They’re really roughing up Padilla.

  2. Lance said

    Roster, not roter.

  3. jhelfgott said

    It’s tough to follow all the moves the team’s made from halfway around the world, but they didn’t cut Burroughs, did they? Once he returns from injury I figure him to start most of the games at 3rd for the Rainiers.

    I’m a big fan of sending Reed down to Triple-A. Sure, his bat and glove are both better than Bloomquist’s as the backup CF, but it’s the last chance to salvage a career for him as more than a 4th outfielder, either with the Mariners or in perceived trade value. I’m also firmly in the camp that believes both Balentien and Wilson could use more AA time, though I still think Wlad’s going to Tacoma.

  4. jhelfgott said

    Lance, Jason can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure each minor league team gets to carry 35 on its active roster. I think clubs can bend that when it comes to rehabbing major leaguers, though.

    Or it’s possible that I’m just completely wrong.

  5. Lance said

    Thanks, or maybe not. j/k

  6. 35, JH?

    You sure about that?

    This is baseball, not club soccer we’re talking about, right?

  7. Free Austin Bibens-Dirkx!

    If they’re going to rush a college pitcher to the majors because they need help in the ‘pen, I’d MUCH rather it be AB-D than Morrow!

  8. If anyone caught me on KJR on Monday at 12:20…well, if you didn’t, here it is…

    Churchill-03.26.07

    Anyways, Softy asked about what players to watch for… and AB-D was the first guy I mentioned.

  9. Damn, I need Real Player on my work PC. I believe I have it a home.

  10. heath said

    heath insider reporting that jake woods and john huber sent down tomorrow.

  11. Ozzie said

    I can’t believe that Ordonez and Rhodes might (probably) make the team.
    I really hope that Mike Morse gets a roster spot instead of Ordonez and
    Morrow gets sent to AA.

  12. Adam said

    Good stuff on Monday, Jason.

    Two questions:

    I haven’t heard squat about Clement this spring. Is he hitting for power?

    Re: AB-D, he’ll probably start out in West Tenn., no?

  13. jp17 said

    Was there any sort of timetable given for Burroughs to get healthy? Of course I’d rather see Chen get time ahead of Burroughs.

    Also, are stats from the minor league spring training games kept anywhere? If not, how “on fire” has Clement been?

  14. Woods was sent down an hour ago… thanks for the heads up Heath. You made me make a call. I should charge you for that… lol.

    Or maybe it should be the other way around.

  15. The minor league stats are not kept…

    Clement had multihit games three times in a row after being sent down, walked 2 times, struck out three and had three extra-base hits.

    I’m hearing AB-D to High Desert, where he really, really doesn’t want to go, and shouldn’t have to but…

  16. cujo said

    Why not push AB-D like they do all the others?

  17. I dunno, I think he’s pushable, too. If anyone is pushable, it’s relievers.

  18. 3rd Watch said

    What? It looks as if they are going to have to make some very difficult moves come the next few days. It also looks like the 40 man roster will take a “Major” hit. I really don’t want to add Burke and Ordonez at the risk of losing a borderline prospect. This is really eating at me….Damn.

    I just think of how well Bobby Livingston is pitching now and can’t believe that we let Posednik go for free a few years back.

    Jason why? is it just me or do they not want to produce some minor league talent that may need an extra year?

  19. Edman said

    Geez….get over the “how could we lose player X?”

    It happens all the time. Potsy was nothing special when he was let go. Livingston, while interesting…..is only that.

    It happens all the time, to every team out there, at different levels. Borderline guys are just that. You can’t hold on to every boardline guy, with the hope he’ll be someone. He’s boarderline, because his odds of making it are less than 5%.

    Would you throw a $50 bet down on a horse with 20:1 odds, who’s never won a race?

  20. Nice comparison @ Edman

  21. JH said

    I’m not sure. DSL/VSL teams definitely carry 35, and I’m pretty sure minor league rosters are bigger than major league rosters. So basically, that’s a number I know for sure is accurate at the summer league level, but I’m not sure it carries through to all minor leagues.

    If you’ve got another number that you’re pretty sure about, it’s probably right and I’m probably wrong.

  22. marc w. said

    Totally wrong analogy.
    You’ve got $50 bucks. You could buy a longshot bet on a horse with 20:1 odds, or you could ‘purchase’ a piece of gum that was chewed three years ago and left for dead in the Emerald Downs parking lot. Everyone is saying ‘Why would you pay any money for the gum? Why would you really want to touch it, let alone trade $50 for it?’ But, apparently some inscrutable sorts like ex-MLB SS. Or gum, I meant old gum.

  23. Minor League rosters, the active roster, is typically 24. It was raised a few years back from 23.

    DSL and VSL may go as high 35, looking at their stat sheets it sure seems like 28-30 players are active, but not in affiliated baseball.

    Not in SS, Low A, High A, AA or AAA.

  24. BTW, there are a few trade rumors going around right now, nothing huge and nothing imminent, but…

    Re: losing a spect…

    The M’s MIGHT DFA Rivera to make room on the 40-man for Morrow… after that, there are other options dont in no way are MAJOR hits to the roster. Sean Green is another.

    They can also add Lowe and Jimenez to the 60-day DL to open two spots.

  25. Adam said

    I read somewhere that Lowe and Jimenez to the 60-day was pretty much a done deal.

    Re: trades – I presume these rumors surround a possible backup catcher and perhaps another bench bat?

  26. nighthawk180 said

    Lets hope that if the mariners are looking into the trade roots that it will be for something more useful than a backup catcher which we have and a bench bat. Im thinking more along the lines of a pen arm. Again only if they are going to trade. No point in losing people for replacement level people.

  27. Lowe and Cesar to the 60-day are certain, yes. Not sure if it has happened yet, though, and it does open TWO spots on the 40-man.

    The trades are for catchers, at least the ones i have heard of. It would have to be a clear cut upgrade over Burke, or a lefty stick.

  28. …or a lefty stick.

    This team STILL needs a lefty stick, even 7 years after Griffey left. Sheesh.

  29. eknpdx said

    back up catcher upgrade? Who?

    Alberto Castillo?

    Mike Rivera already passed through waivers, those idiots.

    How’s about LeCroy! Yes that was a joke.

    I wonder if Pittsburgh needs something we have to give up?

  30. I heard two names, but the talks may be a little older than this week.

    Robby Hammock and Yamid Haad.

    It seems the M’s are fine with Burke.

  31. eknpdx said

    I’d to see what we give up for one of them . . .

  32. Oly Rainiers Fan said

    Per ML rules,
    # reserved/# on active roster
    Major League = 40/25 (until Sept 1 when it can go up to 40 on active)
    AAA = 38/24
    AA = 37/24 (but 23 from the 31st day of the championship season until August 10 of the same championship season)
    A = 35/25 (for Class A), 30 can be on the short season A club but only 25 of whom can be in uniform and eligible for any individual game
    Rookie = 35/35 (only 30 can be in uniform and eligible to play on any given day)

    There are exceptions/different rules for VSL/DSL rookie clubs.

  33. I’m hearing AB-D to High Desert, where he really, really doesn’t want to go, and shouldn’t have to but…

    Wow. Just. Wow. That’s quite mean. That shows how highly they think of him now, doesn’t it…

  34. Oly Rainiers Fan said

    Paul, take heart.

    Remember, Bavasi LOVED Chris Snelling. So maybe, in THIS organization, it’s better to not be so loved.

  35. JH said

    Jason,

    Any word from scouts on how Halman’s progressed since last year? Not for nothin, but he singled against Jake Peavy yesterday, and he’s the only guy they’ve pulled up from short-season ball to play in the split-squad games (besides Rayon Lampe’s guranteed major league camp appearance and 1 AB they gave to Juan Diaz for some reason).

    Dave Cameron’s said twice that the team might push Halman all the way to High Desert to start the year. Seemed pretty unlikely to me at the time but now I’m not sure. Thoughts?

  36. Lance said

    They “might” also push Triunfel to West Tenn. Anything “might” happen. Some blogger “might” say anything.

    Let me know when “might” become does.

  37. Ron said

    I was at Spring Training March 16 and had alittle chat with Greg Halman and I asked him where he might end up this season He said “I’ll be in Wisconsin”. But as you know things can change?

  38. I was told he’s headed for Wisconsin, and that’s where he belongs.

    Halman is too much like Tui skills wise for me to push him too hard. Very raw.

  39. Tui is headed back to AA, and it appears that there will be a repeat of the catching in AAA Tacoma with Clement AND Johnson.

  40. Adam said

    Why make Johnson and Clement split time?

    Sigh. Here’s to hoping Clement gets at least 4 ABs a game.

  41. the Iceman Cometh said

    Perhaps they’re getting Clement accustomed to splitting time at DH and catcher in preparation for a similar situation with the big club.

  42. Ron Hagerty said

    How do u have the two best catching prospects in your system, splitting time.. it’s so ridiculous… especially when one could use a ton of time behind the plate

  43. Oly Rainiers Fan said

    and yet, that news makes me, as a rainiers season ticket holder, deliriously happy.

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