The Rule 5 Roster Crunch Begins Early

Dejan Kovacevic shed some light on the Ronald Uviedo trade for Dana Eveland today, by saying that Uviedo would have probably been cleared off the 40-man roster this winter in order to make room for some first time eligible Rule 5 prospects.  For a detailed rundown on the Rule 5 draft, check out the Rule 5 wiki page.  For a short rundown:

Players who are in the organization but not on the 40-man roster are eligible if:

-They were signed at the age of 19 and over and this is their 4th Rule 5 draft
-They were signed at the age of 18 and under and this is their 5th Rule 5 draft

In short (or shorter), if a player was signed in 2006 (18 and under) or 2007 (19 and older), they would be eligible for the 2010 Rule 5 draft.

The Pirates definitely do have a roster crunch on their hands.  The following players will be first time eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter (this isn’t the complete list, just the guys who have a remote chance of being selected):

Daniel Moskos
Tony Watson
Brian Friday
Tom Boleska
Nathan Adcock
Jeff Locke
Rudy Owens
Starling Marte
Diego Moreno

The Pirates will definitely protect Owens, Marte, Adcock, Locke, and Moskos.  My guess is that they will also protect Friday and Moreno.  That still leaves Tom Boleska and Tony Watson exposed, and that’s only if the Pirates clear enough spots to add the other seven players to the 40-man roster.

There will definitely be a roster crunch, although truthfully it shouldn’t be hard to clear space off the current 40-man roster.  Players who will be at-risk of being cleared:

Akinori Iwamura – Regardless of what happens during the season, Iwamura will be gone at the end of the year.

Jeff Karstens – No need to protect Karstens with all of that pitching likely to reach the majors by next season.

Chris Jakubauskas – Same as Karstens.

Jeff Clement – Will either need to be on 25-man next year, or DFAed.

Steve Pearce – Same as Clement.

Brian Burres – See Karstens/Jakubauskas.

Argenis Diaz – Same as Clement/Pearce, except he’s a defensive only middle infielder.

Steven Jackson – Another fringe pitcher.

There are currently two open spots on the 40-man roster, although they will likely be filled, with Jose Ascanio eventually taking one spot, and another potentially being filled today.  The Pirates may also clear room with trades, or by seeing free agents walk.  Brendan Donnelly, for example, is on a one year deal, and would be a free agent next year.

I don’t really agree with letting Uviedo go.  I’d keep him over Karstens, Jakubauskas, Burres, and Jackson.  Even if he was at risk of being designated for assignment to make room for the new guys (and in which case, he probably wouldn’t clear waivers), there was an alternative approach.  The Pirates could have put him on the fast track, trying to get him to the majors this year, or at least to AAA to show his stuff at a higher level.  Uviedo had a 3.22 ERA and a 28:12 K/BB ratio in 22.1 innings with Altoona this year as a reliever.

As for the other 40-man members, we can expect a busy summer full of moves to clear space on the 40-man, as the Pirates will definitely have a roster crunch come November 20, 2010, the deadline for protecting players from the 2010 Rule 5 draft.

UPDATE 1:40 PM: I’ve updated the Rule 5 Eligible and Minor League Free Agent Eligible lists on the Wiki page.  With the season he’s having, I’d add Alex Presley to the list of potential players who could be picked in the upcoming draft.  Presley has been eligible before, but is currently having a breakout season at the AA level.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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