Teams begin Tweaking their Rosters




Some people think this is one of the most important weeks of the year for a baseball club. Most of the team has already been decided, but now a small percentage of the team has to be assembled to make the trip north to begin the season. Some times it is a rookie who has been sweating it out in the minor league system for a few years, and then you have the veteran who is still trying to hold onto a 25-man roster spot after years and years in the league. This  week will decide both of their futures, and especially, where they are going to play for the next several months.


Now every team right now has those decision to make on their roster. It has nothing to do with skill and talent, but sometimes it has to do with polish or even control that just needs to be tweaked in the minors for a month or so, then the rookie can come up and be a valuable part of their team for the next 5-10 years. But as I mentioned before, you also have the veteran who has been in the league for awhile who is fighting tooth and nail to stay up in the big leagues. they know what it takes, and hope that they have done enough this year to merit another shot on the 25-man roster.

And  some veterans have already gotten the word, or know by their spring performances that they are not going to be selected for the 25-man roster, and already making plans for their future. This weekend, the Boston Red Sox saw outfielder Brad Wilkerson leave their Fort Meyers, Florida clubhouse knowing he will not get a shot with the team, even before his April 1st opt date he set in his contract. He already knew that he did not do enough to keep fellow Red Sox players Chris Carter and Jeff Bailey. Wilkerson knew that the . 119 average he has sustained during his 42 at bats will not transfer into a 25-man bid, and decided to leave camp on March 29th.



Other teams in the American League East besides the Tampa Bay Rays have huge decisions to make before the final roster is submitted this Sunday to the league. New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi have decisions that have been made, and a few that are being mulled by himself and the Yankee front office. They have already given the center field job to Brett Gardner based on his spring performances, but what does this mean for Melky Cabrera? Will they seek to trade him maybe to the Chicago White Sox who are not set on Brian Anderson in their center field spot. Or could they keep him for depth knowing that Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady will need days off and he is a capable short term guy.


But that is not the only questions concerning the Yankees right now. Girardi is also thinking about if he needs a long-relief spot in his Bullpen to begin the year, which could effect pitchers Brett Tomko, Dan Giese, and Alfredo Aceves. I mean the Yankees also have to consider if Cody Ransom is playing every day at third base for the team, then will they need a stop-gap at third base in case of an injury to Ransom, or just take their chances right now. But then you have good stories like  Brett Anderson and Kevin Cahill who might have cemented the last two rotation spot on the Oakland A’s roster for the upcoming season. 

I know of one trade that has fallen through in the last few days between the New York Mets and the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are seeking some Bullpen Insurance after the Disabled List claimed Joel Yumaya this weekend along with starter Dontrelle Willis. They were going to send maybe infielder/outfielder Ryan Rayburn and maybe Marcus Thames to the Mets in exchange for ex-Rays reliever Brian Stokes. But now the deal has fallen through because Stokes might actually make the Met’s roster and would not need to be traded. Tons of decisions are coming in the next few days. Player are being told they are not part of the final roster and teams are giving some of them time to find other options before team’s set their rosters for the Opening Day. 


It is that time of the year where players have to make decisions, like Seattle Mariners ex-starter Brandon Morrow, who after seeing that he will have no option in the starting rotation, might be considered the team’s closer in 2009. With Morrow’s decision, that will also mean that the team will be releasing their current closer Tyler Walker, who has only thrown 5.2 inning this spring and has not been impressive at all.  But then we still have players like reliever Will Ohman who priced himself out of a job with the Philadelphia Phillies this week, and gotten more interest from the Pittsburgh Pirates and L A Dodgers in recent days. 

Today a lot of quality major leaguers will be seeking employment because the teams are fine tuning the rosters and trying to give them a chance to maybe get another shot before the finalization this weekend.  The Houston Astros released  David Newhan today. but a lot of that strife came from the fact that Newhan heard about his not making
the team’s back-up shortstop or utility role from and not from the team’s management. At this point in the season, some things fall through the cracks and become larger than they are, but that is the business of baseball, it is a predictable as the tides and as surprising as a sudden rain shower.nothing is written in stone.


Today a lot of veterans will be seeking new digs, like Marcus Giles, who was released by the Phillies after competing for a utility position all spring that came down to him or Miguel Cairo. But considering that Giles sat out the 2008 season, his .197 average did not impress anyone, especially the Phillies. The Rays also released Morgan Ensberg today, who might not be on the market long considering his past with the Yankees as insurance behind A Rod. But Ensberg did play great this spring defensively, but considering he would have to suplant super utility man Willy Aybar to even get a chance to play behind 2008 ROY winner Evan Longoria was just too much. 

But then you have the position of former Rays reliever Chad Gaudin, who is out of options and getting tons of feelers from around the league for his services. But will the Chicago Cubs find a good fit for Gaudin, or will he just be traded for a needed piece to the Cub puzzle for 2009. But then you have the facts that the Cubs have also just recently released catcher Paul Bako and reliever Mike Stanton. This would make Koyie Hill the Cubbies choice for their back-up catcher this season. But then you have someone like pitcher Pedro Martinez who is setting into stone his $5 million a year demands and is willing to even wait until during the season to sign a contract. 


But then you have the trade that is in a stalemate concerning Rays reliever/starter Jeff Niemann. He was being considered for a trade to the San Diego Padres, who are desperately seeking both starters and relievers for the upcoming season. But the Rays have been consistently asking for multiple prospects, and considering Neimann is out of options, his trade value is reduced a bit. The main figure in those talks have been Simon Castro who is the 14th best prospect in the Padres system right now. These talks might be a good indicator of Jason Hammel maybe being the front runner for the Rays fifth rotation spot. the Rays have said that they plan to announce their fifth starter in the next few days, but if this trade did formalize, the cat would be out of the bag.

As I reported above, the White Sox outfield situation in center field might be becoming a bit unclouded after the team has just released Jerry Owens who was in a battle with Brian Anderson and DeWayne Wise for the spot. This might be a precursor to White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen announcing that Wise has won the job to start on Opening Day in center field for the White Sox. For the rest of today and throughout the week, names will be flying off the computer screen as teams touch-up their rosters and decide on their 2009 goals. Some people like former Royal Jimmy Gobble had only been in the Texas Rangers camp for about 9 days and is already going to be released again this spring. Surprises will come out of nowhere in the next few days before the clouds begin to part and we see what kind of teams each of us will have in 2009.

Over 90 percent of the MLB’s rosters are already set or will be set in the coming days. Certain players hitting the waiver wires or being considered for trades might change their concept, but the end result will be that teams have their basic core of players they want to go into the first games of the year. Fine tuning and chatter will go on until the final minutes on Sunday. But you can be sure that even your team is not set in stone yet, and an attractive free agent or trade might even come up and surprise you. This is one of the three times of a year that teams can change almost overnight, and that is what makes baseball fun………change.

photo credits:       1)
                            4) RRCollections


Hey Rays don’t hate as I have been out of the loop for a bit but what ended up happening to Price? That may be a dumb question but like I said been out of the loop!


I hink these last minute changes really inspire me to see that teams are trying to find the best people. Unfortunately I have seen it where some teams keep players due to the money owed them, not the effort they have shown.


I think..not I hink

One move that I do not get is Kevin Gregg over Carlos Marmol. I think that Marmol is the better overall pitcher.
Please read the quesitons and respond!

Hey Tommy,
Well, the Rays decided to send down Price for a bit to work on his change-up and get some more work in concerning his control. He is just a stitch away from staying up for the next 10 or so years, and the Rays want it to be only one time up and not a roller coaster between the minors and the Rays.
Price is not happy about it, but he also understands it is a business and you have to accept some heartache sometimes to be on top.
He will be fine.

Rays Renegade

Money can play a big role in the final structure of a team. But a few of the guys that will be added to the rosters this week would be considered plus additions, so there also might be a little leeway in the team’s payroll.
I know the Rays owner basically said that the team has foregone their usual measures and spent their extra for the next two years to make the team competitive this year.
Worst thing about the economic environment right now, we will not see the full effect until this next off season when teams begin to stack up the losses on paper.

Rays Renegade

I am not an English teacher, we all can make some of the weirdest grammatical errors without noticing it. I am big on lengthy paragraphs, and I do not care if it is not grammarically sound or not, it is my style.

Rays Renegade

The Indians still have one decision to make. But everything else is set. I ma so excited; that means the season is almost here!

I am thinking that the Cub here might think he has not made enough of an adjustment yet to take over the role. It is a different mindset to close than to set-up a closer. Maybe they are letting him grow into the position and give him a few spot chances to save a game, then maybe in the second half of the season give him the reins.
Why rush a great set-up guy into closing when you have multiple options on your roster.
He will grow into the role and be there for a long, long time.
Just be glad the Cubs have Gregg on the roster to help him mature into the position.

Rays Renegade

I heard that Josh Barfield might be one of the Cleveland Indians last picks for the 25-man roster.
It is always great to settle this as soon as possible to make the upcoming week easy on your squad and let them bond right before they hit the field for the first game of the year.

Rays Renegade

I for one am really happy that Jerry Owens is gone. He’s a nice guy, yeah. But he doesn’t have what it takes for a major league ball club. He’s tried, but it hasn’t worked. As for Wise being the starter, I’ll be so irritated if Ozzie names him as the starter. There’s a reason he’s been a career minor leaguer. I’ve always been a Brian Anderson fan, and his defense is a million times better than Wise. I might be getting really peeved at Ozzie soon. :)

I do not think they have ruled out Anderson, but he might not be the guy they want right now. I also have hard that Juan Pierre has been spotted in Arizona talking to the White Sox brass.
Or since the Yankee have demoted Melky Cabrera, maybe a different setting might re-start his career. You can always send Wise to the Yankees?

Rays Renegade

Great post RR,
This really is an important part of the year for both sides (the front office and the players themselves). This is why Spring Training actually matters. It’s going to be tough deciding between Bailey and Carter, I have grown emotionally bonded to both of them! Whoever it is though, I think they will serve the Red Sox very well.

Barfield was confirmed the last spot on the 25-man the other day. Today David Dellucci got hurt and Trevor Crowe was called up to replace him. I am excited about this. Crowe looks good. They just have to figure out their final bullpen spot. They are supposed to announce this today or tomorrow.

Do you know if Jonny Gomes has a spot on the roster in Cincy?
Also, thanks for the little tidbit about Kaz. Stories like that always make my day. :)
I think karma is on my side this week. Even the radio is playing one of my favorite songs! I want more weeks like this one!

I still think that Red Sox Manager Terry Francona can use Rocco Baldelli in center field against lefties to not make Jocoby Ellsbury ineffective against left-handed starters.
It would make your team better, and give you great options even during the game as to using Ellsbury as a pinch hitter or runner in a key time in the game.
It is going to be fun the next 6 days.

Rays Renegade


Do not be surprised if there is not a trade in the works to fill that last spot.
This is the day that every GM in baseball has his speed-dial going a mile a minute looking for pieces. or subtracting a player for prospects.
I know the Rays have 3 guys who could play on a MLB roster that might not make the final 25-man roster on Sunday.

Rays Renegade

I actually talked to Jonny Gomes on the side of the dugout yesterday and he is 95 percent sure he will need a place to live in Cincy.
He also knows that many thing can happen in this last rush, and with the Reds maybe trying to move Jeff Keppinger, it might open a sure spot for him.
I think personally he has played his way onto the roster with a reserve spot in the outfield.
But we shall see for sure in the next couple of days.

Rays Renegade

It must be nice to be the GM who has the problem of having too many good players! Trades are always interesting though. Sometimes mystifying…I’m still not sure why the D-Backs traded Owings last year, but I hope he does well this year.

I love this part of Spring. This is when you see who makes the team. I know the Rangers have 2 guys left for the last roster spot. That’s Catalanotto or Andruw Jones. The Giants have some hard choices too. Buster Posey was sent sent down but we knew that would happen. They want him to play a year in the minors before coming up.

~ King of Cali

Micah Ownings is actually being counted on in the Reds rotation this year. And he is also a pretty good batter, so he becomes a pinch hit option too.
There are still a huge amount of changes that will take place in the next few days.
I know today the Detroit Tigers got Josh Anderson in a trade from the Atlanta Braves for minor league pitcher Rudy Darrow.

Rays Renegade

On the Ranger front, I have my money on Frank Catalanotto. He is more versatile and can play a multiple of positions and spot in the lineup.
Andrew Jones might have played his cards wrong by being so stubborn in the off season.
But it is early.
Buster Posey should have a year down on the farm to make him not want to be there again in 2010. Anyways, Bengie got the catching covered until September when Posey will get a feel for it again at this level.

Rays Renegade

Good job summarizing all of the grumblings around baseball here in the final week of spring. Intense times. Management should really respect ballplayers enough to tell them where they stand before that kind of information leaks to the press.


I kind of thought that David Newhan stuff was out of context a bit. Sometimes the GM might not know what the Manager has said……and vice versa this time of year.
But it should never have gotten to before the player was advised. That is the sticking point. It was an embarrassing moment for everyone in the organization. But, as we all know, weird things happen in the rush of a day…….So I am willing to give that in as a mulligan to the Astros.

Rays Renegade

Hey Rays – Great Post! This is such a difficult time of year. Players have their dreams deferred and for many – this is the end of the road and they now have to look at life without baseball. How very sad.


Great post, Rays Renegade! This is often one of the most exciting and heartbreaking times of the year for a lot of players. Most of the time you kind of know who isn’t going to make the cut (such as Wilkerson and his .119 BA), but some of these races are really close. The Twins have four relievers and three bench players competing for two (maybe three) spots on the roster, and I have no idea who is going to make the team. I’m always kind of sad when anyone gets cut, even if they’re only batting .110 or have an ERA of 20.00. I always kind of hope that everyone is going to make it.-Erin

You captured these final countdown days so well, Renegade. I almost feel as if we’re watching “Survivor” to see who will be voted off the island. I hate seeing guys cut if I’ve formed an attachment to them, but baseball can be a cruel business.

I kind of look at it a bit different than most people. They got to play a kid’s game for a long time, even as a minor leaguers or major league players, and got paid usually pretty well for the duties.
It is just another chapter of life either you were ready for, or you had false hope that it would last longer. Most players have things established beyond the game by the time the end comes, but the rare few are lost by the decisions.

Rays Renegade

I know how the consumption of a career can hamper some people, but other might consider it a time to re-assess their future and also re-define themselves for their own personal future.
As I said before, most people have either set aside money, real estate, or even purchased a business that will entertain them in their post baseball lives.
But I have also met some who had to go back into corporate America and fight for their lives daily on the treadmill of business.
If they do take the second path, baseball will seem like a picnic…………Trust me on that.

Rays Renegade

I still remain friends with a few of the ex-Rays, and to see them fight harder every year, sometimes even out if the game is like a loss of myself sometimes. Chad Gaudin who actually was not on the Rays draft list, but his agent made a fantastic plan to get the Rays to come watch him throw. The agent took the Rays scout to a restaurant in Louisiana, and Gaudin was the waiter that night.
He bet the scout he could find someone who could pitch in that restaurant that night and picked Gaudin.
The rest is history, and he was drafted by the Rays and did a great job while he was with the team. True story.

Rays Renegade

Hey Rays – I left you a “little something” on my Early Morning Rant! Enjoy!


I am scared.
I will go check it out after I finish my comments.
Thank you Julia.

Rays Renegade

Cubbies are making some weird (dumb?) decisions. Gregg as closer? HA! That’s music to a Cardinal fan’s ears!!!!

Could be worse.
They could make Carlos Zambrano a closer.
Think about that one for a minute. lol

Rays Renegade

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