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November 19, 2008

40 Man Roster Thoughts

The Rangers have three open spots on their 40-man roster, which is not to say that they can’t add four players or more. That would require clearing space via trade or waivers. Here’s my probabilities and thoughts on who Texas might add:

100%: Jose Vallejo. Book it. No thoughts necessary.

90%: John Mayberry. A year ago, I wrote that 2008 would be a watershed year for Mayberry, but little was actually resolved. Instead, he provided another year of good power offset by a vanilla batting average and walk rate. Mayberry has a 313 OBP above A-ball and turns 25 next month. Still, he’s shown enough to make the 40, and he’ll be nabbed in the Rule 5 draft if left off.

50%: Pedro Strop. Ironically, his stress fracture could make him more likely to be a Rule 5 selection, as the drafting team could stash him on the 15-day or 60-day disabled list next spring and buy some free evaluation time. Texas revealed its high opinion of Strop with a $90,000 contract, far above standard minor-league pay (mostly store-brand bologna and Diet Slice).

50%: Omar Poveda. The toughest decision, in my opinion, in terms of estimating the risk of him being swiped in the Rule 5 draft. Poveda just turned 22 and has yet to pitch in AA, not exactly a prime candidate for a Major League staff. On the other hand, he’s a legitimate prospect (albeit not in Texas’s top ten) and posted a 2.73 ERA and 24% strikeout rate in his last nine starts. A team that selected him in the Rule 5 draft would be doing so in the understanding that he’s essentially dead weight on the 2009 active roster. Texas could also leave him off the 40 and trade him before the Rule 5 draft, thus making the decision someone else’s problem.

10%: John Bannister. Bannister is throwing harder than ever and showed improved control after a move to the bullpen. Frankly, I’m having difficulty assessing the likelihood of him being added to Texas’s 40 or being a Rule 5 selection. My gut tells me neither is likely. Given the players I’ve already mentioned, Bannister’s addition could spell waivers for someone like Kam Loe, Wes Littleton, or perhaps Dustin Nippert. Is Bannister more likely to help a Major League roster than any of them?

5%: Willie Eyre. Since he’s in the AFL, I assume he’s already signed a 2009 minor-league contract with Texas. The Rangers thought enough of Eyre to sign him to a contract after 2007 despite an injury that shelved him for most of this year, so I suppose they would prefer not to lose him. That said, losing him would be only a mild aggravation, not a disaster. Pass.

5%: Ben Harrison. Harrison rebounded nicely from an injury-plagued 2007 and is raking in Venezuela. He’s already 27, which dims his long-term outlook greatly but wouldn’t terribly bother a team needing outfield depth.

5%: Michael Schlact. I can’t see Texas or any other team reserving a 40-man roster spot for him right now. In terms of his potential to establish a Major League career, I think he’s better off if this whole process bypasses him.

Some other Rule 5-eligibles: C/IF Emerson Frostad, 1B Ian Gac, RP Kea Kometani, OF Steve Murphy, C Kevin Richardson.

My call: Vallejo, Mayberry, and Strop. We’ll see how that compares to Jamey’s 40-Man Roster Conundrum when his book drops.

Posted by Lucas at November 19, 2008 02:36 PM