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The State of the Roster, All-Star Break Edition

Way back in April, I posted minor league option and service time charts for the Rockies' 40 man roster. However, much has changed since then and the charts are due for an update.

Before you go any further, read my primers on the subjects portrayed by the charts:

Minor League Options and the 40 Man Roster

Major League Service Time

Actually, I'd recommend reading all of the primers in my MLB Transaction series if you're interested about the mechanics of creating a baseball roster, but I understand the investment of time and energy required to do so. In this case, the concepts of minor league options and service time are the crucial ones.

The option and service time status of their players is of the utmost importance to a smaller-market franchise like the Rockies due to the flawed economics of baseball (the details of which I have elaborated upon a great deal over the last six months).

Basically though, a player will be cheap for three years (or in some cases two) until he reaches salary arbitration status. From that point on, by and large players cease to become bargains--though they do remain under team control for their first six seasons of ML service time. In other words, maximizing the value of a player's early, cheap years is crucial for small market teams.

From the service time article, here are the benefits triggered by service time:

As was mentioned above, a player with three years of ML service time (or Super Two status) is granted salary arbitration eligibility. Another benefit of having three years' service time is that the player may not be removed from the 40-man roster without his permission (after being outrighted once to the minors). Instead, he can choose to become a free agent immediately or at the end of the season.

Furthermore, a player with five years of experience can not be optioned to the minors, even if he had options remaining, and may obtain his release. In addition, under the pre-2007 CBA, a five year player that is traded during a multi-year contract may during the offseason demand a trade or become a free agent--though if his wishes are granted, he loses free agency status for three years thereafter, making this a little-used option these days. The 2007-2011 CBA eliminates this provision.

A player with six years' service time is eligible for free agency, while a so-called ten and five player--one who has ten years of service time, the last five with the same team, can't be traded or assigned without his consent. Todd Helton is a perfect example of a ten and five player.

To find the data for options and service time, I used a combination of the Rockies' transaction logs, the 40 man roster, and the wonderful salary (and service time) database that is Cot's Contracts.

Without further ado, the charts...after the jump.

Remembering the Dearly Departed

First, here are those who are gone (off the 40 man roster) from the last update, and those who replaced them:

Out with Old  Reason In with New
Buchholz Injury/TJ Surgery Daley
Grilli Ineffectiveness Daley (came off DL)
Hirsh Arm Injury/Ineffectiveness Flores
Register Ineffectiveness Peralta
Rusch Ineffectiveness Flores
Baker Hand Injury/Trade Phillips/Bellorin

In addition, Juan Rincon was added to replace the injured Manny Corpas while Josh Fogg replaced Matt Belisle (who later replaced Alan Embree on the active roster). 

Colorado Rockies 40 Man Roster Sorted by Major League Service Time and Player Rights

This table sorts the Rockies' 40 man roster by service time and player rights. The categories are zero service time, less than one year, not arbitration eligible, arbitration eligible (by service time, at least), free agency eligible, ten and five rights, and key non-roster players. Note that this chart does not reflect the fact that several players (like Tulo and Jimenez) have signed multi-year deals that buy out their arbitration years. Also, Jeff Francis and Taylor Buchholz are currently not on the 40 man roster and thus are placed in the non-roster category.

Finally, I am not adding on the service time that may have been accrued during this half year for the purposes of this chart--that is a task for the end of the year. Players with a (*) next to their name will likely be changing categories next year with the amount of service time they will accrue this year.

Zero UAY NAE AE FAE T&F Rights Non-Roster
Deduno Daley Corpas* Belisle Cook Helton Buchholz (AE)
Lindsay Morales Jimenez Flores Embree Francis (AE)
Mattheus Reynolds Hammel JDLR Fogg Hirsh (NAE)
Rogers Bellorin Speier Peralta Marquis Rusch (FAE)
Gomez Fowler* G. Smith Street Rincon Fasano (FAE)
Nelson Gonzalez* Iannetta* Atkins Torrealba Ortmeier (NAE)
Young Jr* S. Smith Murton* Barmes Phillips (AE)
Stewart* Quintanilla Hawpe
7 (4P, 3H) 8 (3P, 5H) 10 (5P, 5H) 8 (5P, 3H) 6 (5P, 1H) 1 (1H) 7 (4P, 3H)

 These numbers show that, for the most part, the players on the Rockies that have more major league seasoning (nice way of saying journeymen) are the members of the pitching staff.

Colorado Rockies 40 Man Roster Sorted by Minor League Options Remaining

This chart sorts the 40 man roster by number of options remaining. Note that, with the exception of Matt Daley, Dexter Fowler and Troy Tulowitzki, all of our young players were optioned down and have two options remaining. Also, Jeff Francis has one option remaining but is not currently on the 40 man roster, while Buchholz has none. Players with a * are in their final minor league option season (they can be optioned this year but not next).

Three Two One One (ST Constraints) Zero Options Ineligible (5+ years of ST)
Daley Corpas Reynolds Street Belisle Cook
Fowler Deduno Rogers Atkins Flores* Embree
Tulowitzki Jimenez Bellorin Hawpe JDLR Fogg
Lindsay Gonzalez Hammel Marquis
Mattheus Stewart Morales* Rincon
G.Smith Peralta* Helton
Gomez Speier Torrealba
Iannetta Barmes
Nelson Murton*
S. Smith Quintanilla
Young Jr Spilborghs
3 (1P,2H) 11 (6P,5H) (2P,3H)

3 (1P, 2H)

11 (7P,4H) 7 (5P, 2H)

Most of the players the Rockies have in the "zero options" category are either established starters or are fungible bullpen arms. The exceptions to this are Quintanilla (who has no business on the roster), Spilborghs (who does), and Torrealba (who is = or < than Paul Phillips).

 In the offseason, the Rockies will have tough decisions in the bullpen (which seems to happen every year) and with their outfield situation (as Murton and Spilborghs will both lack options next year).

To the best of my knowledge, these charts are accurate (though Bellorin and Peralta's options have proven to be very tricky to track down)--though any and all fact-checking/nit-picking is encouraged by me. There is nowhere else on the internet where one can find this information gathered together that I've found (for the Rockies, anyway), so it's difficult to verify the data.