Roster Roulette

The Arizona Diamondbacks have become known for their strong farm system. They have accumulated many top-tier prospects that are reaching the point where their impact will be felt at the Major League level. This is great news for Diamondbacks fans as it means that the team will be competitive for many years while maintaining a small amount of fiscal constraint using younger players rather than more expensive free agents. There is of course a downside to having a deep farm system. Each year the Diamondbacks need to identify which of their prospects and players will be added to the 40 man roster thereby protecting their investment. Of course it is not possible to protect every prospect which means that there is a possibility of losing some to the rule 5 draft. The 2006 season was a prime example. Due to the number of players already on the Major League roster, the Diamondbacks were forced to leave Dan Uggla unprotected. The Florida Marlins made the Diamondbacks pay for this decision by selecting him during the Rule 5 draft. Uggla went on to have a banner year for Florida garnering a lot of recognition and consideration for rookie of the year honors. So with the owner’s meetings a couple of weeks away it is now time when the player development personnel get together to determine who will be added to the roster and who will not.

The Diamondbacks did catch a break of sorts when the players and owners ratified the new collective bargaining agreement. The new agreement changes the timeline of when a player must be protected. This has given the Diamondbacks and other clubs a year reprieve as they can control the rights to minor league players one year longer under this agreement. That being said, the Diamondbacks still have quite a few players that will fit within the criteria of Rule 5 eligible choices. The team has announced that they will be adding 7 players to the 40-man roster. The names to be added include pitchers Evan MacLane, and Jailen Peguero, infielders Brian Barden, Emilio Bonifacio, Alberto Gonzalez, Danny Richar; and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. To make room for these players the Diamondbacks were forced to designate left-handed reliever Randy Choate for assignment making him a free agent. Should Choate return to the Diamondbacks it would be as a minor league player. Given the shortage of left-handed relief it is probably that Choate will sign elsewhere. Arizona now has a full 40-man roster with 19 pitchers, 11 infielders, three catchers, six outfielders, and a utility player (Robbie Hammock). This may soon change as infielder Andy Green is currently negotiating to allow him to leave the Diamondbacks to play in Japan. With all of the slots filled on the roster, any player movement will likely come from a trade to maintain the numbers without leaving any of these players unprotected. So any thoughts of the Diamondbacks signing a free agent pitcher are probably more dream than reality.

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