Several recent posts have directed attention toward the improved and in some cases exceptional 2012 performances of former Rockies such as Franklin Morales, Felipe Paulino, Aaron Cook, and most currently, The Amazing Esmil Rogers. On Thursday Cisco Kid lamented the absence of “some creativity in finding a way to keep guys like Morales and Rogers around a little longer until they find their way.” It seems to me however that players such as Paulino and Rogers, certainly not with intention, put the team in the untenable position of either wasting an active roster spot on a non-performing player or losing the player to the waiver wire. But it’s really the player’s performance, not the team’s mismanagement of the roster that causes the predicament isn’t it?
Depending on whether he was signed before or after the age of 19, a player is subject to loss in the Rule 5 draft after he plays four or five years in the minors, unless he’s placed on the 40-man major league roster. And of course you can’t call a guy up to the majors unless he’s on the 40-man. And once the player makes the 40-man there are three (or depending on how a player’s early career assignments are handled, four) years during which the team can “option” the player back and forth between the majors and minors. But once those years are expended you’ve got to either keep the player on the active major league roster or waive him.
In the case of The Amazing Esmil, he was out of options and on the major league squad, making alternatively spectacular and horrifying appearances. When the team was forced to add a starter when Juan Nicasio went-down, the choice was to either move one of the current relievers (including Rogers) into the rotation or bring-in someone new (Jeff Francis) at the expense of one of them (Rogers). To me the definitive is player performance, not roster management. He’s got four minor league seasons to merit addition to the 40-man, then once he’s there he’s got three more to shuffle back and forth, and after that if you still want him you’ve got to waste a major league spot on him. I can’t think of a “creative” way around this. I guess you could swing a deal with some non-competitive team to take him in the Rule 5 then give him back a year later, but that means THEY’D have to keep him on their major league squad for a year. Doesn’t sound like that’d be cheap. You could stash him on the 60-day DL, but then he couldn’t play. I guess I don’t understand what you guys have in mind, but it doesn’t seem to me you can blame it on roster management.
I suppose you can blame the Player Development people for being unable to harness the inherent talent in the time the rules impose, and I guess that’s what we’re really saying: those geniuses in Boston and Cleveland have found the secrets to Frankie and Esmil that the BIB’s guys could not. But I’ll also bet you can find Boston and Cleveland draftees who didn’t make it in those organizations making it work somewhere else as well.