Thursday, November 20, 2008

Roster Changes

If you've been viewing the transactions of MLB teams the past few days, you've noticed a lot of activity. Today is the deadline for setting the ML roster for purposes of the Rule V draft next month.

First, the rules (well, the shorthand version): 1) players drafted out of high school or signed internationally in the high school age group are eligible for the Rule V draft five years after being signed, and 2) players drafted out of college are eligible four years after being signed. As always, there are details that can alter the above explanation, but it's a decent guide.

If players aren't protected on the Major League 40-man roster, they can be taken in the Rule V draft. If selected, they need to remain in the Majors for the entire following season or be offered to the other clubs.

These can be tricky decisions. On the one hand, you'd like to protect as many players as possible. However, on the other hand you have to anticipate roster moves that could happen between now and Opening Day in 2009. How many spots may we need for Major League free agents? How many players could we potentially outright or non-tender? Do we want to leave some spots open for potential waiver claims?

Another part of the game is whether or not you think a certain player would, in fact, get selected in the draft AND if you think that player has the ability to stick in the Majors for the season. Sometimes teams will protect a lesser prospect simply because he has a greater chance of being taken or even because of organizational needs/depth going forward.

When weighing the risk of a player getting taken, it can be counterintuitive. It would seem logical that the best way to protect a player would be to put him on the 40-man roster. That is often, but not always, the case. Sometimes, for players who are borderline roster considerations, you may be safer by leaving him OFF the 40-man. The reason is that if he's taken in the Rule V, he has to stay in the Majors or else be offered back. However, if for some reason (add a free agent, add someone through trade, need someone during the season due to injury) you need to add a player to the 40-man at a later date, you may be forced to outright someone to make room. When you outright a first year roster player, he still has all of his minor league options, so teams can claim him and send him right into their minor league system. In short, it's much easier to lose a player trying to remove him from the 40-man than it is to lose him via the Rule V draft.

Deep breath.

As we do every year we held a series of meetings with a large group of our baseball personnel (front office, field staff, and scouts), and ultimately decided on adding the following players: Matt Bush, Cesar Carrillo, Luis Durango, Jose Lobaton, Jackson Quezada, and Cesar Ramos. That brings our roster to 37 players, so we still have a few spots remaining as we approach the beginning of the winter.

34 comments:

field39 said...

Two Questions:
1: Do you like the Rule 5 draft?
2: What percentage of Rule 5 acquisitions are successful?

Dan said...

Is anything going to happen with Matt Bush? Is he protected because he's simply sunk costs and KT is still holding a candle for him to become something useful?

You Know Me! said...

can you tell us some of the players eligible that were left off the 40 man???

WebSoulSurfer said...

The only real surprise I see on that list is Quezada, but after losing Soria, I can see how the Padres would be gun shy about leaving a good young exposed in the Rule V draft.

Dean said...

The Rule V draft has got to be the weirdest thing about the baseball business. I get that you don't want a promising young player languishing behind an established player. However, it seems like there has got to be a better way to get them into the market. It may be just as simple as granting Minor Leaguers free agency after a set number of years without accruing a full season of Major League service time.

Phx Jeff said...

Alright fine. I'll be the first one to ask...why Matt Bush?

wrveres said...

the Braves left Eric Campbell unprotected.

wink wink.

JamieMHoyle said...

I wonder; at what point will the Padres give up on Matt Bush and move on from perhaps their worst first round pick in franchise history?

It's bad enough you guys passed on Jared Weaver, Stephen Drew, Justin verlander, et al to take a spindly HS shortstop for no other reason than he called to say he wanted to be a Padre and he was "signable". Then, the kid exhibits attitude problems and proves he can't hit or field his position. Now, out of desperation, you convert him to pitcher.

Please, please, please turn the page on this loser and move on. He wil probably never make the majors because he (a) can't stay healthy, and (b) has never made it out of A-ball in what, four years? It's time to let him be someone else's headache.

It is decisions like wasting roster space on bums like this that lead people to refer to the Padres as a laughingstock. Please spare us Paul. Smack some sense into your co-workers and free us of Matt Bush.

AztecAlum said...

Two Words - Joakim Soria!

ross said...

I, like many others, wonder why the Padres chose to protect Matt Bush.

I want to believe that the Padres know something that we don't and that he'll become a dominant pitcher.

On the other hand, I have a feeling that there were so many openings on the 40-man roster they decided to add him just because they could.

Which begs the question, who wasn't protected? I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the Padres aren't exposing much talent, however, if we see another Soria plucked from our system I'd probably lose what little faith I had in the Padres front office.

What's He Thinking? said...

Rule 5 successes:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_5_draft#Notable_Rule_5_draftees

Dean, minor leaguers are free agents after 6 years.

Gavin said...

Paul,

Is it 5 years after signing with the MLB organization, or 5 years after behind under a U.S. contract? That is, does this include players such as Portillo and Domoromo, etc. who are barely 16 when they sign and spend 1-2 years in the Dominican before making the leap to the US? It seems silly that they would be exposed at 21 years of age.

Cpt Top Off said...

The Bush debacle will eat at me forever...I saw that kid play at Mission Bay 3-4 times, and the ONLY time he was impressive was during pregame infield. It was obvious to anyone with or without a baseball background that he wasn't #1 overall material, let alone 1st round (and I know other clubs had him pegged in the first - I question their competence as well). Yet another folly that fell under Gayton's watch.

I also don't think the FO takes enough heat for overlooking Soria. But I guess we don't really need him, we have Hoffy back there....oh wait...

Tom said...

1. Because we had so much roster space available, protecting a player this year doesn't signify much. Even after the promotions there are 3 spaces available. We lost Soria because we decided to protect a couple of far less valuable players. So, to Jamie's point, there's no real downside to protecting Bush. If they'd protected him instead of Carrillo, that's a laughingstock decision. But there's no point to cutting him now. His bonus is paid and sunk. He'll make peanuts next year.

2. Matt Bush is no Joakim Soria. It'll be a minor miracle if any of these players does anything noteworthy in the majors. That goes for good draft picks (Carrillo) and terrible ones (Bush, Ramos).

3. Campbell might make an interesting utility player, especially if the Padres embrace the Earl Weaver philosophy that your true backup SS plays in AAA.

jshel10 said...

I saw Bush throw in his first live AFL game in '07. Even with the injury, it's easy to understand protecting him. He was dominant. And the critics will say "Big deal. It was the AFL." But it was clear to everyone there that he has the potential to be a very good pitcher. I was glad to see him protected.

You Know Me! said...

out of desperation????? the guy can get it up in the upper 90's and has a great curve.

padresrevolution.com said...

You don't leave a guy with that kind of arm unprotected without at least seeing what he can do over the course of a full season. From what I've read, Bush was pretty impressive in the few innings he logged at the end of '07. It's not like the Padres have five other guys in their system who can throw 97 mph. It's worth a roster spot, especially since we know that the Pads aren't going to go out and sign any free agents this offseason so they can afford to do it this season.

DANIEL said...

There are always some jewels discovered in the Rule 5 draft. Shane Victorino was tapped by the Padres out of the Dodger system. He just was not ready for the Majors when the Padres took him. I also think Cameron may potentially be a good bullpen guy as well. Wasnt Johann Santana a Rule 5 guy? I would be looking closely at Tampa, their farm system is deep in talent. I really think the pick of Matt Bush was an abomination, particularly because of the other choices available. In addition, the amount of money the Padres wasted on old decrepit players over the last fews years makes the penny pinching ways exhibited in the Matt Bush draft sickening. All that being said; however, Bush did show a lot of promise as a pitcher prior to hurting himself. Bush also excelled as a pitcher in high school and in my estimation has potential as a closer one day.

Richard B. Wade said...

"It's bad enough you guys passed on Jared Weaver, Stephen Drew, Justin verlander"

That wasn't the current front office.

Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

Mr. DePodesta - Can you explain how the two minor-league phases of the Rule 5 draft work? Are there, for example, players not on the 40-man roster that can be protected from being drafted away or is that the one and only list of protected players?

Paul R. said...

Matt Bush isn't being given up on because he hasn't had a chance to prove himself as a pitcher yet and the early (very early) results of his pitching were pretty impressive (16 strikeouts in 7 innings before having TJ).
No one can defend the draft pick, but to get rid of a guy who has the potential to be a quality big league reliever because he reminds you of a bad decision...There's no reason to give up on a guy when all that he costs right now is a roster spot. The money is not coming back...

Paul DePodesta said...

Wooden,

Excellent question, and I apologize for neglecting the subject.

If players are not protected on the Major League 40-man roster, they can be protected on the AAA, AA, or A ball roster.

Players on the AAA roster must be taken in the Major League phase of the Rule V Draft. Players on the AA roster are taken in the AAA phase and A ball players taken in the AA phase. In the minor league phases there are no restrictions on keeping a player in the organization. It's simply a cash payment to the organization losing the player.

For instance, we acquired Gabe DeHoyos last year in the minor league phase, so we just paid a predetermined cash amount to the Royals and then DeHoyos became our player.

Paul DePodesta said...

Gavin,

It is five years from signing their first professional contract. The players we signed in July are generally signed to contracts for the following season (2009 in this case). That is why none of them participated in the DSL this past summer.

The rules undoubtedly put a strain on international signings, which is part of the reason we are forced to make decisions on those players earlier than with others (we have placed Frieri, Lopez, Quezada, and Durango on the roster the past two years despite none of them performing above A ball at the time of protection). I would guess this also contributes to the fact that some of the more successful Rule V selections have been Latin American players.

Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

Paul - One last question: How many players can an organization protect in the AAA or AA phases? I'm just curious as to how many minor-league players are eligible to be drafted away after the Major-League phase is over. From what I can tell, there are roughly 50 players per organization that are eligible. Presumably, after the MLB phase, you're allowed to "take back" players by protecting them.

hector said...

Cpt Top Off said,

Matt Bush was ranked as the #8 prospect in the country, it was a reach due to signability, but the kid was (is) talented. He has had his troubles, but like a 10 team parlay, he has a lot of upside to go with the risk.

But, what do you know about baseball?

John said...

Paul you said "Ramos is left-handed and he was always a very good strikethrower. The knock was that he didn't strike enough guys out, but it wasn't because of his fastball. Cesar routinely touches 92 mph and regularly pitches at 90-91"

Paul I saw him in Lake Elsinore his Fastball was sitting in 86-88.

My friend goes to Portland U and has season tickets to the Beavers. He said Ramos fastball is 87-89 and top out at 91. So I think you need to check your scouting.

JD said...

Glad to see Cesar got added to the 40-Man. I'm rooting for him to full recover from his surgery so a guy I played ball with and against can actually make the majors.

matt said...

I love these discussions and wish they would progress and continue more. I just wish the Org. would step up and acknowledge that though the Org. has publicly been put throught the ringers lately, they at least can come out and acknowledge some of the TRUTHS, that way we move on and "oh by the way" our 2009 lineup is expected to be chock full of prize prospects and Adrian Gonzalez.

Paul DePodesta said...

John,

I saw Cesar pitch both this summer in Portland and last summer in San Antonio, and both times he touched 92 and pitched between 88-91. Our numerous other internal scouting reports agree.

Cpt Top Off said...

Plenty more than you Hector.

I never said he wasn't talented. I questioned selecting him so high. He had a good glove and the most impressive infield arm I've ever seen in person. But he was NEVER going to hit. NEVER.

Please save your attacks until you know what you're talking about.

Padman42 said...

Paul,
Thanks for the info on why we didnt see Portillo, Aritsy, etc... in the DSL this past summer. Also I have heard rumors that Portillo skips the DSL and starts in the US (More than likely AZL Padres). Any validity to that rumor? Also is it safe to say that we will see Galvez, Hernandez, and Liriano in AZL next year or will they stay in the DSL?
Now for the real question. I think this is kind of a big button issue (that if responded I'm guessing will take more than a snip it, but I thank you for just reading it). But.... I keep on reading that because you report straight to Sandy (and not KT), and since you have to sign off on any trade; that their is a major strain on KT, and that in turn there is major dissension in the front office. This seems slightly odd to me. I get the reporting straight to the harbinger of death himself Mr Alderson, but how big of a constraint is signing off on trades and personnel moves on KT. From this blog and from everything I know about KT you guys both seem like great guys. Its just interesting to hear repeatedly that there are big problems in the front office.

No matter what I am real excited about last years draft class, including the players the Padres signed out of the Dominican. So in that regards I cant wait till April. Thanks again for this blog, and happy thanksgiving.

hector said...

The Padres have to offer arbitration to Hoffman, there is now way in Hells Bells he comes back anyway...

Paul DePodesta said...

Padman42,

You mention a controversy that fortunately doesn't exist.

KT has been the GM of the Padres when I was driving a van in spring training for the Cleveland Indians. The idea that I would have to "sign off" on baseball decisions is absolutely crazy. KT's presence here was a major factor in my decision to join the Padres.

In any event, I appreciate the comment. We are all excited about our recent signings as well and look forward to seeing them start their careers with us next season.

Tom said...

Hector, proving once more that you're not Sandy Alderson nor any Padre employee.

Trevor would jump at the chance to accept arbitration. He'd probably get 8 million, get to stay home, get to stick it to the Padres for their clumsy, no, asinine treatment of him. The team could always cut him in the spring, like they classily did with Todd Walker, but they probably learned their lesson. Then again, they continue to hand out NT clauses and then lament them, so maybe they're not so quick on the learning.