On Wednesday night, the Twins picked up a big, much needed win against the best team in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays. After two two-run losses to the Rays, the Twins played a tight, 13 inning matchup. The game was full of second-guessing opportunities, clutch moments generally won by pitchers, good and bad defense and a lot of excitement. A stroll through the Star Tribune's articles and blogs and other Twins blogs will give you a lot of thoughts on the good and the bad from the game.
So, I thought that this would be a good place to write about something completely different. This is a part of the game that not everyone really understands and yet, every offseason, it is one of the big events. The Rule 5 draft takes place during baseball's Winter Meetings in December. We know that the Twins have used the Rule 5 draft to acquire Johan Santana and Shane Mack in the future, so it can be very important. But during the season, the 40 man roster is important because a player can't be added to the 25 man roster without being added ot the 40 man roster. That means someone must be put on the 60 Day Disabled List or another player has to be removed from the 40 man roster and potentially lost).
Who is eligible for the Rule 5 draft? Players who are not on the 40 man roster who were either signed at age 19 or older and have been in the organization for four years, or were signed at the age of 18 or younger and been in the organization for five years. To try to make that manageable, here are the rules for who would need to be added after this season or could be selected. Players drafted out of high school in 2006 are eligible if they signed to play in 2006. College players drafted in 2007 who signed to play in 2007. It can be a little more complex with international signings, but it still goes back to the age at which they signed and played for their first contract.
So who are the players in the minor league system who would have to be added to the 40 man roster or potentially be lost to another team in the Rule 5 draft?
Here are the names of the players who would be eligible for the first time (As you read this list, there are a lot of names that you'll read and know they will not be added):
Joe Benson, James Beresford, David Bromberg, Eliecer Cardenas, Chris Cates, Jair Fernandez, Jonathan Goncalves, Anderson Hidalgo, Steve Hirschfeld, Edgar Ibarra, Danny Lehmann, Michael McCardell, Jean Mijares, Miguel Munoz, Jair Perez, Josmil Pinto, Chris Province, Tyler Robertson, Yangervis Solarte, Spencer Steedley, Alexander Soto, Michael Tarsi, Brad Tippett, Rene Tosoni.
There were also several names of players who were exposed to the Rule 5 draft at least one previous year. Those include:
Brian Dinkelman, Juan Portes, Steve Singleton, and several others including guys like Brock Peterson, Jose Lugo, Matt Fox and Matt Macri who will be six year minor league free agents after the World Series, if not added right away.
So, who will the Twins add to the 40 man roster after the season?
Let's start with the easy choices. In my opinion, these guys will absolutely be added to the 40 man roster following the season: Joe Benson, David Bromberg, Chris Parmelee, Rene Tosoni and Kyle Waldrop. That is five easy choices.
These guys have to be at least considered: James Beresford, Jair Fernandez, Anderson Hidalgo, Edgar Ibarra, Miguel Munoz, Tyler Robertson, and Steve Singleton. The biggest question that has to be asked is "Would this player be lost, and would he be able to stay on a big league roster for all of 2011?"
So, how many can be added? Well, currently the Twins have 42 players on their 40 man roster because Joe Nathan and Clay Condrey are on the 60 Day Disabled List. Condrey will not be back. The Twins have seven guys who will be free agents at the end of the year so they will likely not be on the 40 man roster at the time of the Rule 5 draft (Jim Thome, Carl Pavano, Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch, Ron Mahay and Orlando Hudson). Of course, the Twins will also have to decide if they want to offer arbitration to JJ Hardy. They will need to determine if they want to pick up Nick Punto's 2011 option. And if they feel they need to, guys like Matt Tolbert, Loek Van MIl and Estarlin de Los Santos can be removed from the 40 man roster.
So there could easily be seven to ten open roster spots for additions, free agent signings and trades.
No, these decisions don't need to be made today. In fact, they don't have to be made until after the World Series. But now you know the background and can start thinking about what you would do if you were the Twins GM.
What would you do? Who would you protect?