The Mariners are deciding right now which minor league players they want to protect on their 40-man roster, making them unavailable to other teams in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.
Jay at USS Mariner has a comprehensive post on this subject, which includes several Rainiers players who are in their protection year. If you are interested in this subject, I highly suggest reading his post.
Players selected in the Rule 5 Draft have to be kept in the major leagues all season, or else be exposed to waivers and ultimately returned to the Mariners. This stipulation means that players who get selected are almost always relievers who can be stashed deep in the bullpen (think Lucas Luetge, who the Mariners acquired in the Rule 5 Draft) or utility infielders and extra outfielders who ride a lot of big league (splinter-free) pine.
Using Jay’s list of Rule 5 qualifiers, I think the following players (not listed in any order) could be selected by other teams if not added to the 40-man roster:
- Brian Moran – he doesn’t dazzle with stuff, but he had a terrific season in 2013, posted an outstanding strikeout rate, is deceptive and left-handed. It should be noted he was available to be selected last winter and was not.
- Ty Kelly – stats-minded organizations will see his .456 on-base percentage in Triple-A and may take a flier on him.
- Stefen Romero – he did not have a great Triple-A debut in 2013, but it wasn’t bad, either. Teams that scouted Romero closely in 2013 surely noted that he had better at-bats against the pitchers with big-league stuff in the PCL.
- Logan Bawcom – seems like a major league ready reliever to me; I was surprised when he didn’t receive a September call-up. Maybe I’m missing something here?
- Ji-Man Choi – he’ll be protected on the 40-man, I’m sure, because he can hit.
Two outside-the-box wild cards:
- James Jones – outfielder with a great arm and some speed, some team might select him in the Rule 5, use him as a reserve outfielder for a year, and if it doesn’t appear that he’s gong to make it as a hitter they can try to move him to the mound (pitching has been seen as a possibility for Jones ever since he was drafted).
- Forrest Snow – this is a real long shot, but he would be easier for a team to carry in MLB all year because the first 50 days of the season are an unpaid suspension. If there is a team that truly believed in his future returns, they could acquire him at about a 30% discount.
It’s always an interesting time of the off-season when we learn which minor leaguers the Mariners value the most. We’ll find out soon…
- Logan Bawcom‘s latest blog post on playing in Venezuela is up and ready for your perusal. It’s good stuff.
- Baseball America has a free column called “Minor League Free Agents With Intrigue.” I’d love to see the Mariners sign former Memphis outfielder Adron Chambers, who always seems to play great at Cheney Stadium. The Tacoma outfield for 2014 appears pretty full with guys ready to come up from Double-A (James Jones, Julio Morban) and returning players (Xavier Avery, Stefen Romero, Abraham Almonte if he doesn’t make the big club), but they could squeeze one more player into the mix.
- On Wednesday John McGrath wrote a good column on Hisashi Iwakuma.
- Iwakuma ended up finishing in third place in the AL Cy Young Award balloting.
- Ken Griffey Jr posted a classic photo on his Instagram.
- Sacramento will bring back its entire coaching staff, headlined by manager Steve Scarsone.
- Former Rainiers player Tommy Everidge was hired to manage a low-level minor league team in the Oakland A’s system.
- Round Rock skipper Bobby Jones was added to the Texas Rangers big league staff as assistant hitting coach, so the Express will have a new manager in 2014.
- There is going to be a big change in Major League Baseball next season: expanded replay is going to happen, apparently with “manager challenges.” We’ll get all of the details before spring training.