When the season ended, the Reds had a full 40-man roster plus 4 players on the 60-day DL who did not count toward the 40-man roster. In the next couple of weeks those 4 players (Mike Lincoln, Edinson Volquez, Wilkin Castillo, and Danny Richar) will lose their 60-day status and will have to be moved back to the 40-man or put through waivers. As far as I can tell, the only player on the roster who is a straight up free agent at the end of the season is Kip Wells. The only contract option the Reds have to consider this off-season is Ramon Hernandez's $8.5 million option, which one would think will be turned down. So, that opens up 2 roster spots, likely for Edinson Volquez and Mike Lincoln (since the Reds still owe him $2.5 million). Every other player appears to be under contract or under control because of Major League service time So, what do they do with the remaining two players, Castillo and Richar?
Before we figure that out, let's throw another wrench into the mess: The Rule 5 Draft. The Reds have several players in the minors who could be available for the Rule 5 Draft in December if they are not protected on the 40-man roster before the end of November. According to Wikipedia, here are the rules for eligibility:
Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft who are not on their major league organization's forty man roster and:
- were signed at age 19 or older and have been in the organization for four years; or
- were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in the organization for five years.
Basically, this means that any players that were drafted or signed at the age of 19 or older in 2006 are eligible for the draft, and anyone younger than that must have been signed in 2005 or earlier. Who does that give us?
Well, the list of eligible players in the organization is actually quite long, but not every player is at risk of being drafted because of their skill or performance (remember, rule 5 draftees have to stay on the MLB roster for the entire season). Some of the names though are obvious keepers. Chris Heisey, Chris Valaika, and Travis Wood will likely be protected because of their prospect status. There are a couple of other names that could potentially get drafted if the Reds don't protect them as well. Someone like Daniel Dorn may have enough pop in his bat to sit on a team's bench all year as a left-handed pinch hitter. Enerio Del Rosario moved up 3 levels last year and posted a 1.68 ERA for the season. He's not really a power pitcher, which is typically the type of pitcher that gets drafted in the rule 5, but his control was outstanding last year and that may draw some eyes his way.
The Reds can't protect everyone, so they are going to have to make some choices. There is little doubt for me that they will find spots for Heisey, Valaika, and Wood. The question is, do they hold on to Castillo and Richar? Will they feel it necessary to protect any other minor leaguers such as Dorn or Del Rosario? And who do they drop? I'll put the 40-man roster after the jump. Let's hear who you think should stay and who should clear out some space.
Daniel Ray Herrera
Edinson Volquez **
Wilkin Castillo **
Ramon Hernandez #
Danny Richar **
#-Free Agent; **-60-day DL