Out Of Options Players: AL East

The following 40-man roster players have less than five years service time and are out of minor league options.  That means they must clear waivers before being sent to the minors, so the team would be at risk of losing them in attempting to do so.  I've included players on multiyear deals.  This list was compiled through MLBTR's sources.  Today, we'll take a look at the AL East.

Blue Jays: Brett Cecil, Jeremy Jeffress, Luis Perez, Esmil Rogers, Sergio Santos, Todd Redmond, Moises Sierra

Back on February 20th, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos spoke about beginning the season with an eight-man bullpen, as they did in 2013, partially because of the desire not to lose a player, according to MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm.  Cecil, Santos, Casey Janssen, Steve Delabar, and Aaron Loup are the locks.

Perez has already been sent to minor league camp, with the Jays expected to buy some time by putting him on the DL to start the season.  Dustin McGowan is under contract on a multiyear deal, and was not listed above because he has over seven years of big league service.  Still, the Jays will have to find a spot if they wish to retain him, and they probably will.  McGowan, Rogers, Redmond, and Jeffress are part of the fifth starter competition, as outlined by Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star on Friday.  In theory, all four could be retained: one in the rotation, the other three filling out the bullpen.  That scenario would involve sending Neil Wagner and other solid pitchers to Triple-A, establishing strong depth but perhaps not putting the team's best 13 pitchers on the Opening Day roster.  A trade would be another way to find some breathing room.  The Jays are known to be in the mix for Ervin Santana, who would take a rotation spot and have a ripple effect on the above-named players.

Sierra seems to have a good shot at the team's last bench spot partially because of his lack of minor league options.  It's another case where making the decision to retain the player might be less than ideal, as Sierra would have to be the team's fourth outfielder over the defensively superior Anthony Gose.  Sierra would also platoon at DH with Adam Lind and could pitch in at first base, however.

Orioles: Edgmer Escalona, Chris Davis, Tommy Hunter, Troy Patton, Nolan Reimold, Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, Kelvin De La Cruz, David Lough, Brian Matusz, Steve Pearce, Francisco Peguero, Josh Stinson

The Orioles' list includes a staggering 13 players.  Let's start with the team's rotation.  We can project three members with certainty: Ubaldo Jimenez, Chris Tillman, and Wei-Yin Chen.  At this moment, Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris would grab the two remaining spots.  Two of the above-named pitchers, Britton and Matusz, had been among those competing for the fifth starter job before Jimenez was signed.  Further muddying the picture, as explained by Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun today, is the pursuit of Ervin Santana.  Additionally, Suk-min Yoon and Johan Santana will come into play later in the season.

Connolly notes that Norris or Gonzalez could move to the bullpen if necessary.  Hunter, Darren O'Day, Ryan Webb, and Matusz seem to be locks for the pen.  A 25-game amphetamine suspension for Patton takes him out of the picture for most of April.  That leaves Escalona, De La Cruz, Britton, and Stinson as out of options pitchers competing for three likely spots, with Steve Johnson, Alfredo Aceves, T.J. McFarland, and Evan Meek also in the mix.  You may recall the Orioles were loose with 40-man roster spots in the offseason, giving them to Escalona, De La Cruz, and Peguero despite scant big league experience.  Retaining them now requires putting them on the 25-man roster.  This situation seems to call for a trade or two.

As the backup center fielder, Lough is assured a spot on the roster.  The Cruz signing takes away at-bats from Reimold, but he still seems likely to make the team.  Peguero or Pearce could take the final roster spot, but only by beating out the other candidates in camp, such as Delmon Young, Xavier Paul, Julio Borbon, Quintin Berry, and Henry Urrutia.  There seems a good chance Peguero or Pearce is exposed to waivers; perhaps both.  Again, a minor trade could make sense in the coming weeks.

Rays: Jake McGee, Cesar Ramos, Matt Joyce, Chris Archer, Josh Lueke, Brandon Guyer

Archer is a lock for the Rays' rotation, while Ramos is battling pitchers such as Erik Bedard, Jake Odorizzi, Nate Karns, and Alex Colome for the fifth starter job until Jeremy Hellickson's projected late May return.  If he doesn't win the job, Ramos would go back to the Rays' bullpen.

McGee is a lock for a bullpen job, as are Grant Balfour, Heath Bell, and Joel Peralta.  Juan Carlos Oviedo has yet to report to camp due to visa issues, but he's expected to take a spot as well.  If Ramos doesn't win the rotation job, that leaves one potential opening for Lueke.  Late last month, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times named Brad Boxberger, Brandon Gomes, and Mark Lowe as other candidates, choosing Lueke as the favorite given his option situation.

Joyce is a lock for a roster spot.  If the Rays go with a traditional fifth outfielder, Guyer could snag the job, as Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribune explained late last month.  The team could also use Sean Rodriguez or Ben Zobrist as the fifth outfielder. 

Red Sox: Mike Carp, Felix Doubront 

Doubront is penciled into Boston's rotation.  Carp has a bench spot locked down, though he did pop up in recent trade rumors.

Yankees: Francisco Cervelli, Ivan Nova

Nova is a key piece of the Yankees' rotation, while Cervelli is highly likely to break camp as the backup catcher.

21 Responses to Out Of Options Players: AL East Leave a Reply

  1. AYL 1 year ago

    How many options does a player get to start off with?

    • MB923 1 year ago

      I believe 3 though I very well could be wrong

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

      Most players get only three minor league options, but a player who has accrued less than five “full seasons” is eligible for a 4th minor league option.

      Normally, a player on an MLB Reserve List (40-man Roster) is allotted three minor league option years. This means the player can be sent to the minors and be available 24/7 for recall back to the major league club whenever the player might be needed during the course of three different seasons. Note that if a player spends 20 or more days of an MLB regular season on Optional Assignment to the minors, an option year is expended, but if the player spends 19 or fewer days of an MLB regular season on Optional Assignment, an option year is NOT expended.

  2. Christopher A. Otto 1 year ago

    Is Berry expected to make the Orioles? He could be a nice bench piece for a couple teams with weaker outfields.

    • Bleed_Orange 1 year ago

      He will not be on the 25 man roster but he will make the 40 man roster

      • Christopher A. Otto 1 year ago

        Oh, so the Orioles CAN send him down to start the season.

      • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

        Why would he make the 40-man? He signed a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite. I thought that only if you were on the 40-man, then you have to worry about clearing waivers. Since he signed a minor league deal, I believe the O’s can simply assign him to Norfolk (Bowie is pretty unlikely) and that’s the end of it.

  3. rikersbeard 1 year ago

    Plus Sierra is vastly superior to Gose with the bat. He actually looks right now like he can be a slightly above average hitter with good on-base abilities.

    • dgapa 1 year ago

      Not to say Sierra is a better hitter than Gose by any means, I think you are over valuing him by saying vastly superior and slightly above average hitter with good OBP. He is only projected to have a wRC+ of the mid-to-high 80’s, which is not good.

      • rikersbeard 1 year ago

        ya, I saw that on fangraphs, however, he did put up 125 wRC+ last season in a relatively small sample size (122 PA) and reportedly had a very good season of winter ball. He has also looked quite good this spring. Gose in comparison has not given any indication that he will ever be able to hack it. Even in the minor leagues he was barely average.

        In short, I’ll take the bullish position on Sierra, particularly if they utilize him predominately against lefties (i.e., platooned with Lind).

        • lawries_helmet 1 year ago

          even if he is a better hitter, he has shown an inability to properly play defense. in a roster that already includes Lind, Edwin and Melky this is starting to be dangerous…

          his baserunning is also beyond bad.

          he also can’t play CF

          • Steely_D89 1 year ago

            As a “4th outfielder”, DH and 1B, I’ll take Sierra… Gose will get the majority of the outfield anyway. We NEED a platoon partner for Lind and being able to spot Edwin a day or two here and there is a Plus. I think this article is a little unfair on Sierra. I think with his previous season and recent successes he’s earned a spot on merit regardless of options.

      • LazerTown 1 year ago

        Projections rely heavily on what over players have done. They don’t always mean that is correct. That said though a .385 babip is unsustainable for majority of players. Only 3 players have gotten that high in a qualified # ab, and Sierra has been about a .333 level during his minor league career. The projections are expecting he falls back down to previous levels.

      • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

        Regardless of what anybody thinks of Sierra, can we all agree that Gose is simply not developing as expected? His pitch selection as a batter seems to be getting worse, he doesn’t work the count for walks, and does not appear to have the baseball smarts to overcome his slower development. Add in the fact that his defense is average at best and you have a bad combination. I suspect that if the Jays had a great offer of pitching and Gose was needed to get the deal done, he could be gone.

        • Steely_D89 1 year ago

          Agreed. From what I’ve seen of Gose at AAA and MLB he’s a pinch runner… He’s a lefty Rajai with a slightly worse bat/defense.

  4. Seamaholic 1 year ago

    Orioles have a major crunch. There are some people on that list that can help other teams.

  5. The Jays’ pen depth could come in handy midseason when teams are more likely to overpay for relievers.

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