The entire world reported earlier this week on the Colorado Rockies acquiring free agent outfielder Gerardo Parra, and while that deal is likely as good as written in stone, it's important to note that the Rockies themselves still have yet to officially announce the transaction.
That's small potatoes for the most part, since we can reasonably expect Parra to be in Denver this summer, but it looms large in one way: the 40-man roster. A full forty men are on it right now, and once Parra's roster move is made official by the club, they'll have to make a corresponding move to have the outfielder replace somebody on that roster.
But who gets removed? There are quite a few possibilities for a corresponding move to match Parra's addition. Here's how I see some of the options:
The locks to stay (14): Chad Bettis, Jorge De La Rosa, Jairo Diaz, Jon Gray, Boone Logan, Jordan Lyles, Justin Miller, Scott Oberg, Adam Ottavino, Nick Hundley, Tom Murphy, Nolan Arenado, Daniel Descalso, DJ LeMahieu
These 14 guys ought to impact the big league team in a significant way this summer, and won't be moved off the 40-man roster for anything between now and Opening Day, save a serious injury or an unforeseen trade. Parra will (almost) certainly replace none of these guys, barring some other significant roster move that would frankly be pretty surprising at this point.
The virtual locks to stay (11): Tyler Anderson, Christian Bergman, Eddie Butler, Miguel Castro, Tyler Chatwood, Tyler Matzek, Chris Rusin, Dustin Garneau, Cristhian Adames, Ben Paulsen, Brandon Barnes
For whatever reason, I don't see these 11 guys quite as certain locks to stay on the 40-man roster as that first group of bona fide big leaguers above, but I do think it's a virtual certainty they'll all remain on the roster through Parra's addition. Sure, I suppose the Rockies could designate somebody like Garneau or Rusin for assignment this week, but there are several significantly more appealing candidates to move before they do that.
The newcomers (3): Chad Qualls, Jason Motte, Mark Reynolds
The Rockies signed these three veterans for a reason, they can't trade icoming free agents like this for a little while anyways, and none of the three will be going anywhere in favor of Parra. All three will certainly stay on the 40-man roster into spring training and, assuming health, to Opening Day.
The new youngsters (4): Antonio Senzatela, Carlos Estevez, Trevor Story, Raimel Tapia
These four were just added to the 40-man roster earlier this offseason for protection from the Rule 5 Draft, and I think there's probably a very, very small chance that any of them are removed at this point, unless it's as a (very, very unlikely) part of some trade package that's in the works.
The trade chips (3): Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, Corey Dickerson
Now here is where things start getting interesting. What if the corresponding roster move for Parra's addition involves the Rockies trading one of these three outfielders away from Denver? It'd make sense from a roster standpoint, of course, but it also doesn't take into account whether a hypothetical trade will return the Rockies any big league-quality talent. That is, trading one of these three could bring back another 40-man roster player, anyways, and still require the Rockies to remove somebody else from their 40-man even after Parra's spot is accounted for here. We'll soon see, of course.
The wild card (1): Jose Reyes
Nobody is really sure what's going to happen with Reyes, but he must be listed a wild card here for many different reasons. A punishment timeline that is supposedly coming by March 1, an Opening Day court date, and that whole suspension issue that we just don't know enough about yet, and Reyes could be taken off the 40-man roster all season. Or maybe he'll take a plea deal and start for the ball club on Opening Day. Who knows! Whatever it is, I'm skeptical the final decision will come down in time for the club to officially add Parra in the next few days, though.
Those at-risk (4): Kyle Parker, Rafael Ynoa, Christian Friedrich, David Hale
I'm fairly certain these four are the first four gone in the event of any significant roster moves this winter or at the start of the season. Hale has struggled, Parker's struggles are well-documented, Ynoa's not terrible but is eminently replaceable, and Friedrich hasn't taken to the bullpen and is out of minor league options, so it's make the team or be exposed to the league for him this March. Smart money says that, unless another big trade or move is coming, one of these four will be designated for assignment for Parra.
Also, roster buffs, some insight here: based on their (lack of) service time, if any/all of Parker, Ynoa, Friedrich, and Hale are exposed to the league and not claimed, they can be outrighted to Triple-A, correct? (Not that it makes a difference for the 40-man roster, this is more just curiosity on my end.)
OK. Who's it going to be?