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.
Cecil is in the mix for the Blue Jays’ closer job, but he’s battling shoulder inflammation and it’s not clear whether he’ll be ready for the start of the season. That could have a trickle-down effect and make one more bullpen spot available. Last Thursday before Cecil’s injury surfaced, Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star took a look at the team’s bullpen, calling Redmond a near-lock. Drabek, one of the big prizes of the 2009 Roy Halladay trade, is on the bubble. Hendriks and Barnes also could have an uphill battle for one of the seven bullpen spots.
Slugger Edwin Encarnacion will be a regular at first base and DH, with Smoak battling non-roster invitees Daric Barton and Dayan Viciedo for playing time at those positions. Smoak appears likely to make the team. Complicating matters is catcher Dioner Navarro, who would join the team’s bench if he’s not traded. Valencia, who can play both corner infield positions, has a spot on the team. Tolleson might stick as well, given his ability to play second base and the outfield.
In February, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun wrote that Brach is likely to make the Orioles. The team does have a crowded bullpen situation, however.
Lough may earn a spot on the team, though that would mean the Orioles might break camp with six players capable of playing the outfield (Lough, Snider, Delmon Young, Alejandro De Aza, Adam Jones and Steve Pearce). Young will probably spend time at DH, though, and Pearce can help there and at first base. If any of that outfield mix goes, if could be Lough, whose defensive skills and solid work against righties would have appeal to other clubs. He can be controlled through 2019 and isn’t arb eligible until next offseason.
The Orioles added Everth Cabrera to potentially play second base, perhaps pushing Jonathan Schoop into competition with Ryan Flaherty for a utility infield job (both can be optioned to the minors). That leaves Paredes on the bubble, as it’s hard to see the Orioles optioning both Schoop and Flaherty just to keep him.
McGee will open the season on the disabled list. Boxberger, Frieri, Jepsen, and Beliveau have spots in the bullpen. Colome is in the rotation mix, though he has yet to arrive at camp due to visa issues. If Drew Smyly has to open the season on DL, that would help Colome’s chances.
Rivera is the starting catcher, and Guyer seems to have a fourth outfielder role locked up. If that is indeed the case with Guyer, it could lead the team to shop David DeJesus at the end of Spring Training. The 35-year-old DeJesus is earning $5MM this season and has a $1MM buyout on a $5MM option for the 2016 campaign.
Varvaro seems likely to secure a spot in Boston’s bullpen. If all the Red Sox first basemen/outfielders are healthy at the beginning of the season, there might not be room for both Nava and Allen Craig. However, Rusney Castillo is currently battling an oblique strain. One would think that Nava, earning $1.85MM and controllable through 2017 via arbitration, would have some appeal to other clubs.
The Yankees seem to prefer John Ryan Murphy over Romine for their backup catcher job, which could set up Romine as a spring trade candidate. The former top prospect is still just 26, is not yet arb eligible and can be controlled through 2018.
Rogers is competing for the Yankees’ fifth starter job but could end up the team’s swing man, according to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com.
Nova is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and could be ready around June. He’ll open the season on the 60-day disabled list, so there’s no worry of him losing his spot.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.