Busy week in early September. Not only do we have the expansion of the MLB roster to deal with, but last minute minors adjustments for postseasons rosters.
The minor league regular seasons have ended (except for the Ghosts, who play their final game tonight). Modesto and Tri-City have advanced to their respective post-seasons. The Dust Devils have already made it through the first round, and begin play for the championship on Friday. The Nuts are currently down 0-1 in their series.
This week will likely mark 99% of the final organizational transactions before the end of the MLB season. Barring any surprise trades, injuries or promotions, all that remains on the radar are the activation of Chris Nelson and Edgmer Escalona, plus the purchase of Drew Pomeranz and a corresponding move. Through the rest of the month, with transactions short, I will use this article to run down pre-offseason notes. Who is headed for free agency, who needs to be protected from the Rule 5 draft, etc.
The next major wave of transactions will be at the end of the MLB postseason. Both MLB and MiLB free agents will declare, and the offseason procedures begin once again.
So let's get to it.
- Andrew Johnston activated from the 7 Day Disabled List.
Johnston fills the spot vacated by Josh Roenicke, who was recalled the previous day to fill Jason Hammel's roster spot. Johnston, one time a fringe relief prospect, has had a very difficult final season of his original contract, struggling with both injury and ineffectiveness, and was in danger of losing his roster spot with the Sky Sox multiple times. Johnston spent just a week out with a sprained ankle.
- Ryan Spilborghs activated from the 15 Day Disabled List.
Spilborghs, who had been suffering from a foot condition, completed an extended rehab with the Sky Sox in which he experienced great success. He was the only immediate addition to the expanded roster. Spilborghs goes into the 2011 offseason a non-tender candidate, and while I do not feel his departure is as certain as some of my peers here at Purple Row may, the Great 2012 Roster Crunch™ makes his victimization in favor of sweet and juicy roster spot, in short supply, far more likely than it would have in previous years. Indeed, every arbitration eligible player in the organization needs to be especially assiduous towards proving their role with the team has value going forward.
See the rest of the week after the jump.9/3/11
- Andy Graham placed on the 7 Day Disabled List.
- Blake Johnson activated from the 7 Day Disabled List.
Like Johnston, Johnson only missed about a week with a hamstring strain. Andy Graham was sent back to the DL with season ending shoulder inflammation. Johnson, a mid-season free agent signing, will be heading back out the door via MiLB Free Agency. Graham has one more year remaining on his initial contract, but will be a release candidate this offseason and next season.
- Hector Gomez placed on the 7 Day Disabled List.
- Jeffrey Squier activated from the 7 Day Disabled List.
Gomez' season comes to an end at the hands of a strained groin. Squier's extended stay at AA would turn out to last through the end of the season. Gomez used his final regular MLB option year this season, but due to lost injury lost seasons in 2008 and 2010, Gomez will qualify for one more bonus option next season, much like Greg Reynolds did this year. I do not expect him to be a casualty of the roster crunch during the offseason, but with his slow development, I wouldn't rule it out. Squier is still pre-Rule 5 eligibility, but his job is at risk. In three seasons played in short season ball (excepting his trip to AA here), he has failed to impress. He's a release candidate out of Spring Training. So far, the team has not returned him to Tri-City for their postseason play, even though there is roster room for him.
- Samuel Mende assigned to A- Tri-City Dust Devils from RK Casper Ghosts.
With Tri-City playoff bound, the Rockies chose to promote 2011 draftee Mende to play with their team for the last few regular season games and into the postseason. Mende's impressive first pro season gives him a very good shot at making the Asheville roster in 2012, but that competition is crowded, particularly for infielders.
- Michael Ramirez assigned to RK Casper Ghosts.
Last week, I had reported that Ramirez was sent on a fill-in assignment to Modesto when Beau Seabury had to be sent to the DL. Ramirez did make that trip, and was initially activated, but with circumstances beyond my discovery, Ramirez' activation was ultimately redacted in favor of the activation of Modesto's regular 2011 catcher Dallas Tarleton from the DL. Ramirez returned to Casper days later. The oldest of Casper's 3 player catching team, Ramirez is still just 21, but already Rule 5 eligible due to signing in 2007. He played three years in the DSL before getting the call to America in 2010. He's had an awful season in 2011 in limited playing time. If he stays with the team, he may be repeating Casper a third time, or get a chance at Tri-City.
- Trevor Gibson activated from the MiLB 60 Day Disabled List.
Gibson's appearance after being activated was his only pro 2011 appearance (though he still has a chance of getting into tonight's game too), and only 23rd overall for the injury plagued 2009 draftee. Still pre-Rule 5, it's difficult to foresee the future for a player like Gibson. If healthy, he may return to Casper for a fourth season in the hopes of proving he can get his career back on track.
- Greg Reynolds recalled to Colorado Rockies.
- J.C. Romero recalled to Colorado Rockies.
Two more September callups for the Rockies. Romero is one of just three players on the 40 Man Roster headed for automatic free agency at the end of the season. The veteran had consented to an optional assignment last month to make room for Huston Street and Matt Lindstrom with the understanding he would be recalled back as soon as he was eligible. Reynolds has used all three of his regular options, and as of this season, his awarded bonus as well. He is still pre-arbitration, but a likely outright candidate.
- Jorge Cantu placed on the 7 Day Disabled List.
- Clay Mortensen placed on the 7 Day Disabled List.
- Warren Schaeffer activated from the 7 Day Disabled List.
- Dustin Molleken assigned to Colorado Springs Sky Sox from Tulsa Drillers.
- Joe Torres assigned to Colorado Springs Sky Sox from Tulsa Drillers.
- Cory Riordan assigned to Colorado Springs Sky Sox from Tulsa Drillers.
The Sky Sox shuffled up their roster for their final game of the season. Cantu (bruised foot) and Mortensen (broken finger) saw their hopes for a September callup dashed with trips to the DL, though Mortensen could be recalled and sent to the 60 Day Disabled List to make room for Drew Pomeranz this upcoming week. Those two plus the roster spots of the recalled Reynolds and Romero made room for the activation of Schaeffer, and three Tulsa promotions.
Cantu, a midseason MiLB free agent signing, will be departing again this offseason. Mortensen is out of regular options as of this year, but will qualify for a bonus next season. Molleken, Torres and Riordan all got into the game, and were all making their AAA level debuts. Molleken and Torres were both signed in the '10/'11 offseason as MiLB free agents, and are headed that way again. Riordan is on the 40 Man Roster with two remaining option years, but is also an outright candidate.
- Drew Pomeranz activated from the 7 Day Disabled List.
Only one of empty Tulsa roster spots was filled. Pomeranz was activated to start Tulsa's final 2011 game. He will be purchased to the 40 Man Roster for a September callup this upcoming week.
- Beau Seabury activated from the 7 Day Disabled List.
- Alan DeRatt to the Temporarily Inactive List???
Seabury wasn't gone long; the catcher's trip to the DL was a last minute decision, and he was clearly close to healing. The corresponding move wasn't announced, but it was likely the movement of one Alan DeRatt to the Temporarily Inactive List. DeRatt had started the previous game, and as a result, wouldn't be needed on the roster for the post-season, as he'd not be lined up to start. Both DeRatt and Seabury are Rule 5 eligible after the season, but neither has any realistic chance of being protected.
- Jason Hammel assigned to Colorado Rockies (paternity leave ended)
- Jonathan Herrera placed on the 60 Day Disabled List.
- Jim Miller purchased from Colorado Springs Sky Sox and assigned to Colorado Rockies.
- Jordan Pacheco recalled from Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
- Wilin Rosario recalled from Tulsa Drillers.
The main day of September roster additions. Hammel, of course, is no stranger the MLB. Baby born, he is back in uniform to try and prove there's a place for him on the 2012 team. He is already signed to $4.75m for next season; he is unlikely to be released with that much money tied up in a position weak in depth thanks to the injuries to Jorge De La Rosa and Juan Nicasio, but remains a trade candidate in the offseason. Herrera becomes the next player in the organization to struggle with finger injuries this season. His movement to the 60 Day DL made room for Jim Miller, the most surprising September callup this year. Herrera remains in pre-arbitration, and is a likely candidate for the same utility infield position next year. He could also be a casualty of the roster squeeze, theoretically, but is helped by his pre-arb status.
Miller was also a September callup for Baltimore in 2008, his only other MLB experience. The pitcher is an outright/release candidate in the offseason. Pacheco and Rosario are getting their first MLB experience here. Each player has two MLB options remaining after this year, and are not candidate for removal from the roster in the crunch.
- Orlando Sandoval placed on the Temporarily Inactive List.
- Daniel Perkins placed on the Temporarily Inactive List.
- Sheng-An Kuo placed on the Temporarily Inactive List.
- Rafael Ortega assigned to Modesto Nuts from Asheville Tourists.
- Bruce Kern assigned to Modesto Nuts from Asheville Tourists
- Isaiah Froneberger assigned to Modesto Nuts from Asheville Tourists.
Sandoval, Perkins and Kuo join DeRatt as Nuts who won't get to play for the team in the postseason (at least for now). Sandoval may have been the corresponding move for Seabury instead of DeRatt, but I still can't confirm either. DeRatt makes more sense. Sandoval is headed for MiLB Free Agency after the season. Kuo is Rule 5 eligible, Perkins is not.
Ortega, Kern and Froneberger get to play in their stead. This is Ortega and Kern's first action above the A level, while Froneberger pitched for Modesto in 2010, and has reached as high as AA with Tulsa earlier in 2011, the only reason for his demotion being injury rehab. Froneberger will be Rule 5 eligible, the other two are not (Ortega would be eligible, but is given an extra year of protection due to signing below the age of 18; Froneberger himself received a similar protection last year).