The Indians made their 40-man roster decisions today, filling up their roster to the max with 5 new players, all of whom were Rule 5-eligible.
Let's do a quick analysis of the guys currently on the roster:
Overall comments: Rebuilding teams don't carry deadwood on their roster, especially with the deepest farm system in baseball. The Indians, after today, are carrying at least 5 guys who have proven themselves to be fringe major leagues/AAAA players. If a team is non-competitive next year, why do you need a Shelly Duncan or Justin Germano taking reps away from real prospects who have to be evaluated? If the team is competitive, why does it need AAAA guys? That is why guys like Duncan and Germano are minor league FA insurance policies, not 40-man roster cloggers. Any one of two of our 5 deadwood guys below can easily be DFA'd is we sign a significant FA in their area. However, all of them are taking valuable roster spots from prospects who have some life left in them. We made a lot of headway in getting propsects on this roster. Be thankful for that. Still, we have some real exposure in the Rule 5 this year. Whether we lose a guy, who knows? But the exposure with guys who fit the Rule 5 profile, is significant. We are a rebuilding club. We have deadwood on the roster. This exposure was unnecessary.
Deadwood still present: Shelly Duncan, Justin Germano, Joe Smith, Luis Valbuena, Ezequiel Carerra
Comments: I would have cut Duncan and traded the other 4 but that may still happen down the road. Duncan is a AAAA guy. Leaving him on the roster exposes guys like Josh Rodriguez and Matt McBride, among others, to the Rule 5 draft. Rebuilding teams don't risk their prospects, no matter what level you think Rodriguez and McBride are, for Shelly Duncan. I would rather see Rodriguez and McBride fighting for ML ABs next year. While that is still possible, both have to make it through the Rule 5 draft and my suspicion is that one or both of them will be lost, especially Rodriguez. I would have also cut Valbuena. When you consider that Rodriguez has not blown his chance and Valbuena continues to spiral, how can a rebuilding team keep Valbuena when Rodriguez brings everything defensively that Valbuena brings PLUS some offensive upside. I am OK with Germano and Carrera. Both of them, and even Valbuena, can be DFA'd if we sign someone who needs their roster spot. Still, Rodriguez should be on this roster and Smith traded.
As I said, I would have traded Smith. ROOGYs are a luxury that a small market, rebuilding club cannot afford. Plus, he is a roster clogger.
Newbies:McAllister, Kluber, Judy, Goedert, Hagadone
Comments: You know, when you make a bad trade like we did with Westbrook, rostering a guy like Kluber, who gave up 38 hits and 10 walks in 26 innings after the trade, is just piling stupidity onto stupidity. As predicted on another site, though, when Mark Shapiro mentions you in PR material, you are going to be rostered. Let's see in 3 years whether Kluber or Josh Rodriguez should have been rostered or, even more appropriate, how Paulo Espino does. Espino has a chance to be drafted in the Rule 5 and used as we used Ambriz last year. Espino is a shortish righty but he has enough stuff to get righthanded hitters out in the pros.
Significant non-additions: Adam Miller, Paulo Espino, Josh Rodriguez, Matt McBride, Jerad Head, John Drennen, Beau Mills, Connor Graham and Wes Hodges.
Comments: Obviously all these guys are now Rule 5 eligible. Twenty years of following the Rule 5 draft tells me this about predicting it: It's totally unpredictable. However, I would much rather have Miller, Espino and Rodriguez on our roster than some of the deadwood above. McBride and Head may be safe and, right now, Mills, Drennen, Graham and Hodges do not fit the mold of guys selected in the Rule 5 draft. Unfortunately, Miller, Espino (as a 6th inning guy) and Rodriguez MORE than fit that mold. Even though I can't predict the Rule 5 with any accuracy, my suspicion is that all of Miller, Espino and Rodriguez get drafted. Don't think McBride or Head will but if a team sees them as a good utility guy who can catch in an emergency, they may get popped, too.