With the end of the 2009 season looming, the Tigers have some roster cutting to do. They currently have 44 protected players between the 40 man roster and disabled lists. They have to get that number down to 40 in the short term and well under 40 eventually to protect minor leaguers.
The Tigers need to reduce their roster to 40 players before the free agent filing period, which is the first 15 days after the end of the World Series). Matt Treanor, Mike Hollimon, Joel Zumaya, and Jeff Larish currently find themselves on the disabled list meaning that 4 of the current 44 players need to be removed any day now.
Treanor and Hollimon will likely be two of those players. I’d like to see Dontrelle Willis be a third. In Dombrowski’s postseason media session he still thought Willis could be a productive player, but there are only so many chances one can be given. In the case of Willis my guess is that it is a matter of what the Tigers value more – the roster spot or the combined probability that a)Willis is productive and b)the are able to collect insurance if he spends another season on the DL. Don Kelly is a 4A player who will likely by DFA’d to free up space as well.
The table below breaks down the types of players currently on the 40 man roster. And by types I mean contract status. For those listed under ‘”Club Control” I have included the remaining option years as well. (For all Tigers service time and options status information check out Tigers Thoughts which has this information and more).
|Signed||Club Control||Arb Eligible||Free Agent|
As Tigers Thoughts points out, Clay Rapada has seemingly fallen out of favor among the powers that be, and with no options remaining the Tigers may try (or may have already) passed him through waivers.
Now trimming 4 is just step one. The Tigers have other work to do with a number of players who are rule 5 eligible. Scott Sizemore tops that list and he’ll need a spot regardless of Polanco’s situation. Ryan Strieby is also a lock to be added – barring a trade of course.
Beyond Strieby and Sizemore the Tigers will need to make decisions on Brennan Boesch, Brayan Villarreal, Brett Jensen, Scot Drucker, Luis Marte, Brooks Brown, and Audy Ciriaco. Drucker’s presence and success on the ARL team may be an indication the Tigers would like to hold on to him.
So where would this space come from? I doubt that the Tigers keep both Lyon and Rodney so there is at least one spot. Marcus Thames is likely to be non-tendered so that’s 2. If the Tigers feel that Brent Dlugach could match Adam Everett’s offensive output or if they feel he could be a cheaper back-up infielder than Ramon Santiago that could make 3. Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff will depart via free agency making 5 spots which may be enough to accommodate the Rule 5 eligibles but the Tigers still have other work to do.
Presumably the Tigers would like to add a member or two of the reliever class of 2008 – not for rule 5 protection – but because Robbie Weinhardt or Cody Satterwhite may be leaned on for bullpen innings in 2010. But they have until spring training to make those decisions.