This week should be a very active week as far as roster moves go. Taking a look at the calendar on the BUCCO Fans.com Wiki site, we see that Friday November 20th marks two important periods: the deadline for 40-man rosters to be set, and the start of free agency. I don’t expect the Pirates to be overly active on the latter front, but they have a lot of moves to make in order to set the 40-man rosters.
Upcoming 40-Man Roster Decisions
The Pirates currently have four open spots on their 40-man roster, although they have Evan Meek and Jose Ascanio on the 60-day DL, and not counting towards the 40-man roster. After adding Meek and Ascanio to the 40-man roster, the Pirates will have two open spots. A look at the list of Rule 5 eligible prospects shows that the Pirates will need several open spots if they want to protect some of their important prospects.
The players I would protect are Brad Lincoln, Gorkys Hernandez, Bryan Morris, Shelby Ford, and Ramon Aguero. I rate all five players in my top 50 prospects, and I think they all would be at risk of not only being selected in the Rule 5 draft, but being hidden all year on another team’s roster.
In order to clear space on the 40-man roster, I think the following players could be candidates to be designated for assignment:
The Pirates would only need to remove three of these players in order to clear space for the players I mentioned above. Any team who claimed one of these players would have to add the player to their own 40-man roster, which means the Pirates may be able to sneak a few guys like Claggett and Thomas through waivers at an extremely busy roster period.
The Pirates would have to clear additional space if they wanted to make any future additions to the 40-man roster. The possibilities include:
Waiver claims: Every team will be setting their 40-man roster by November 20th, which means we will see a large amount of players placed on waivers.
Free Agent Additions: The Pirates can start signing people on the 20th. I’ll have a post on some guys I would target later this week. Any major league contracts would need a spot on the 40-man roster cleared.
Rule 5 Draft: The Pirates don’t have to clear a spot by Friday to make a selection in the 2009 Rule 5 draft. They have until 5:00 PM EST on December 8th to clear a roster spot in order to make a selection in the Rule 5 draft. So don’t expect all of the 40-man decisions to be made this week.
Any player in the organization who is not added to the 40-man roster by November 20th can’t be added to the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 draft, even if there is a future spot open on the 40-man roster.