You keep me in doubt, I can't live without your protection

UPDATE: Here’s a full rundown of the 40-man situation and who might get protected Friday.

Friday is the last day teams can protect eligible players from the Rule 5 Draft by adding them to the 40-man roster.

The Indians, at the moment, have 33 players on their 40-man. Free agents Jamey Carroll and Tomo Ohka will officially come off that list at week’s end, and Jake Westbrook and Anthony Reyes (both on the 60-day DL) would have to be added, so the number of open spots could remain at seven.

It’s possible the Indians could designate Reyes for assignment, given that his recovery from Tommy John surgery won’t make him a rotation option until midseason, at the earliest, in 2010. If that’s the case, that would free up an eighth spot.

In any event, the following is the list of Rule 5 eligibles who will have to be added to the 40-man or else exposed.

Juan Aponte
Cristo Arnal
Jordan Brown
Alex Castillo
Jose Constanza
Adam Davis
Kelvin De La Cruz
Kelvin Diaz
Kevin Dixon
Jason Donald
John Drennen
Ryan Edell
Damaso Espino
Jose Flores
Jared Goedert
Jeanmar Gomez
Jerad Head
Stephen Head
Frank Herrmann
Wes Hodges
Zach Jackson
Scott Lewis
Chuck Lofgren
Anillins Martinez
Richard Martinez
Matt McBride
Matt Meyer
Lucas Montero
Roman Pena
Vinnie Pestano
Yohan Pino
Carlos Rivero
Josh Rodriguez
Luis Rodriguez
Niuman Romero
Gregario Rosario
Carlton Smith
Erik Stiller
Josh Tomlin
Sung-Wei Tseng
Neil Wagner
Nick Weglarz
Steven Wright

As is the case most years, the Indians are going to have some tough choices in here. Brown, a subject of controversy when he wasn’t promoted in September, figures to be protected. Same with Weglarz (who had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left leg earlier this month but should be ready for Spring Training), Donald and Hodges. McBride was stellar at Kinston and made the transition to Akron in May. He therefore might get protected.

On the pitching side, the left-handed De La Cruz is one of the best arms in the system, but he missed most of the year because of injury. Gomez is a lock. The left-handed Lofgren’s improvement this season gave the Indians something to think about this time of year. Pino was an intriguing addition in the Carl Pavano trade, Edell is left-handed and Wright made the transition to the bullpen at Akron this year.

Those are the names that jump out to me, though one can never be exactly sure what a Major League team (the Indians included) will value in the Rule 5, which, for the record, takes place Dec. 10 in Indianapolis.

18 Comments

Hmmm…I was only able to narrow it down to 11:

Jordan Brown
Kelvin De La Cruz
Jason Donald
Jeanmar Gomez
Wes Hodges
Scott Lewis
Chuck Lofgren
Matt McBride
Yohan Pino
Nick Weglarz
Steven Wright

I don’t really know where you go from there. I suppose Lewis is something of a wild card and Donald can’t be that risky to leave exposed.

I don’t know enough about all of them to even start making a judgement

They should drop Gimenez, Shoppach and Reyes, which would leave 10 spots … Does De La Cruz actually need protected? From what I understand of the Rule 5, if a team selects a player they have to keep him on the major league roster all year or lose him to waivers … so what would be the point of selecting an (injured) A-level prospect like De La Cruz? Same goes for Weglarz, he’s certainly not nearly major league ready. From that list, of the position players I’d protect Brown, Hodges, Donald, McBride (at the expense of Gimenez … McBride’s just as versatile, played C, 1b, LF, and at this point he’s a better prospect than Gimenez) and Weglarz I guess, if there’s actually a risk he’d be taken … I’d assume someone like Josh Rodriguez wouldn’t be at risk because he’s still at least a year away from being ready for the big leagues. For the pitchers, I’m not sure who might be taken. I would assume that players like De La Cruz, Pestano, Carlton Smith and Neil Wagner wouldn’t be because they’re too far away from the big leagues, or would teams select guys like that to give them a shot? If none of those guys are included, then Gomez, Wright, Edell, Herrmann, Pino maybe? Scott Lewis is injured, Lofgren hasn’t done enough to warrant keeping.

IndiansInsider just posted this link on their twitter account (I think I have to drop something on this, as it won’t let you post links, I don’t think):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G2iGNzF2w0

Acta says good things here. It sounds like he wants Brantley to earn the lead off spot in spring training.

Thanks for posting that video LACF. I am definitely liking what I am hearing and seeing as far as his personality and thoughts go. I can’t believe I watched a whole 6 minute interview with the Indians manager and didn’t hear the word “grind” one time!

at first glance of AC’s list I came up with 9 players. I would assume that we will have 8 roster spots open rather than 7.

Jordan Brown, Kelvin de la Cruz, Jason Donald, Jeanmar Gomez, Wes Hodges, Matt McBride, Yohan Pino, Carlos Rivero, Nick Weglarz.

I would think that under different circumstances, like if he weren’t part of the Lee deal, that Jason Donald would not be protected. I see no reason for it. I still cannot get beyond the idea that we traded Lee and specifically asked for a utility player in return among others. I see no reason to protect Scott Lewis nor Chuck Lofgren but I’ve been happy with the development of the latter.

ML bullpens (and even our rotation) are so chaotic that I would prefer not to lose Wright, Wagner, Edell, Tomlin and Stiller but other than Wright I would not specifically look to protect any of those guys so perhaps my list is at 10.

AM, I obviously hated the Lee trade, but I think you’re selling Donald short. He was injured in 2009, before that he put up some very good numbers in the minors
.304 BA .869 OPS 2007 in A
.307 BA .889 OPS 2008 in AA

Compared to Valbuena, .239 BA .689 OPS in 2007 in AA, .304 BA .864 OPS in 2008 in AA. Valbuena was slightly ahead of Donald coming into 2009, having played 58 games at AAA in 2008 and played well … but if Donald’s struggles in AAA in 2009 can be attributed to an injury that he can fully recover from, he is not a bad prospect … certainly a better prospect than Wes Hodges, who had an equally horrible 2009 injured season in AAA, but wasn’t quite as good as Donald in ’07-’08 at the same level. The Indians need good right handed bats; Lee trade or not, he’d be one of the first guys I’d protect. I suspect Donald would be taken in the Rule 5 before Rivero, Weglarz, McBride, De La Cruz or Hodges, because he’s a more advanced prospect than any of those guys, and he’s a better prospect than Hodges and Rivero, at least … and in my opinion, Weglarz is overrated, he really hasn’t done much to justify the hype (.891, 828, .808 OPS the past three years, while only getting up to AA, that’s some bad regression)

ST, are your crazy? I realize there isn’t a very polite way to ask that question but seriously? I have so many things to respond in your last post that my head might explode. Are you seriously going to compare Jason Donald against Wes Hodges and Nick Weglarz? Mediocre players without ONE special characteristic in their game (i.e. speed, gold glove defense, power, average, etc) with top end utility player talent at best (hence Donald) grow on trees. That’s why they are utility players. Donald doesn’t have one single defining skill. You would not say the same thing about Hodges and Weglarz. Yes, Hodges had an injury-plagued year in 2009. It happens. Donald was injured WHEN WE TRADED FOR HIM, came off the DL, then went back on like a week later. He had a subpar year health-wise so I will give you that.

And if you think that the fact that Donald was part of the Cliff Lee deal doesn’t factor into protecting this guy then you are in denial b/c it does. The Indians are rebuilding, they won’t allow their current 2B to face LHP, Shapiro specifically asked for this joker so he could have a cheap/young replacement for Jamey Carroll and he’s not even going to make the team out of camp b/c we plan to sign another, cheap veteran. Did I mention he was brought here to take over for Carroll and cannot make the roster on a rebuilding team? Some prospect we got there.

I think you are confusing in your pro-Donald rationale between “prospect” and “R5D prospect”. I have been closely following Carlos Rivero since Lisa Winston wrote this article back in March. (http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090324&content_id=4061188&vkey=news_cle&fext=.jsp&c_id=cle) and he is a legitimate ‘prospect’ to watch. You said that Donald would be taken before Rivero, Weglarz, McBride, de la Cruz, or Hodges in the R5D b/c he’s a more advanced prospect and that he’s a better prospect that Hodges and Rivero. I can agree with the former especially considering the rules of the draft, terribly disagree with the latter. You mention advancement of Donald but did you even notice the ages of the guys you brought up? Donald an Hodges have a birthday 10 days apart but case in point: Donald is more than 3 1/2 years older than Rivero! I am so confused by your affection for Donald that I am stunned.

I can’t believe how the “Donald is a utility player” myth has grown. The guy has a 870 OPS average for 2 years and people want to say that is only good enough to be a utility player?

This year the only player above 808 OPS in Akron was Santana. Donald’s 889 AA OPS would have been far above everybody else on that team. Yet that is only good enough to be a utility player?

Rivero hits 652 in AA and he is a legit prospect? Sure he was young, but he has to do something to be a prospect. 652 is a failure.

yeah AM, what duanekuiper said. What particularly special skill does Hodges have? (or Valbuena for that matter?) Hodges hit 18 HRs in 573 ABs in Akron in 2008. Donald hit 14 HRs in 414 ABs in AA Reading. Donald’s slugging % was .497, Hodges .466, and Hodges plays 3b, a position that normally requires better offensive production than 2b. Plus Hodges had an .858 fielding % in 2009 … yikes. I think the other part of the picture you’re missing is the Indians really do need a decent right handed bat for 2b. Do you really want them to have to throw out 5 left handed hitters against left-handed pitching? Their only right handed outfield bat is Crowe, which isn’t exactly reassuring. They’ll be slaughtered by left handed pitching next year. Donald COULD be that bat, not to say that he WILL, and I agree it was ridiculous to trade Lee for 2 injured players but we have him now, so let’s hope he bounces back and plays to the potential he showed in ’07 and ’08, in which case he could at least be a right handed Valbuena, putting up good slugging numbers and a decent average

First of all, it is widely considered that the jump from single to double A is typically the biggest obstacle for a developmental player to overcome, even bigger than the AA to AAA jump. Honestly, I don’t see us getting anywhere with this philosophical debate. duanek, saying that Rivero is “young” would be a total understatement. Donald is 25 years old, Rivero is 21 y.o. Age, development, and when players start playing baseball professionally significantly affect his timetable (i.e. LaPorta, Kenny Lofton [junior year at Arizona]). Perhaps I am (admittedly) too harsh on Donald but in the same breath you could say the same thing about you two on Hodges, Rivero, and Weglarz. Rivero and Weglarz are considered top-tier talent in the Indians system. Hodges was the next big thing until his injury-filled 2009. Now that distinction belongs to Santana.

Perhaps it is my pessimistic attitude about the Indians but when I see Chisenhall, Rivero, and Mills, I see our infield of the future. I’ve said it for some time now that I’m not sold on Valbuena but the last scenario I want is another platoon situation. This is a “what have you done for me lately” industry and unfortunately in 2009 Donald and Hodges were injured. However, given their talent levels and ceilings I would rather put stock in Hodges than Donald. True, Hodges is a siv at 3B but the rationale from the Indians (more like excuse) is that his wrist injury prevented him from putting the time in he needed. I can see a place for Mills, Hodges, Rivero, Weglarz, on this team in the future. Right now I just don’t see a prominent place for Donald. Having said that the Indians should save some money and give him the utility job since they practically announced it last year.

Honestly Rivero has never done much until the fall league this year, his numbers in Kinston were by no means spectacular, in ’08 a .701 OPS. He’s younger than Donald obviously, but they’ve spent the same amount of time playing professionally. In terms of what we’re talking about, the Rule 5, what team is seriously going to take Rivero and keep him in the majors all year? The guy hit .242 in AA, if someone wants to take him and plug him into the majors now then good luck. Same with Weglarz, in my opinion, although everyone says they’re definitely protecting Weglarz, I don’t really get it but I’m no expert on Rule 5 draft machinations … Personally I’d see Chisenhall, Valbuena and Laporta as the infield of the future, but Donald has the potential to fight with Valbuena for 2b, and ultimately the Indians would have a more balanced offense if 2b was a right handed bat, since barring a trade the all left handed outfield is likely here to stay, and DH is locked down as a left handed position, with Hafner, Weglarz and Jordan Brown really the only guys in the organization that could fit as the DH over the next couple years. For the infielders, Rivero has yet to be successful in AA so he’s likely at least 2 years away unless he makes a big jump next year, Josh Rodriguez has some potential but right now the only guy they have who can realistically compete with Valbuena, or sub for Valbuena if he’s injured, is Donald. They talk about signing someone like Vizquel, but while Vizquel would provide a nice veteran presence he’s no offensive upgrade over Valbuena against left or right handed pitching

AM, I don’t get your logic. Mills at age 22 put up a 724 OPS in AA as a 1B and you call him the 1B of the future.

Donald hits 889 OPS in AA at age 23 as **** and you call him a utility player?

“When healthy they (Indians) think he (Donald) is an everyday player, though they prefer to introduce him to the big leagues as a part-time player first.”
http://www.indiansprospectinsider.com/2009/11/indians-40-man-review-who-do-they-add.html

That’s funny. I typed as “a shortstop” but used the initials (SS) and it censored me.

there is more to a player’s worth than OPS but that seems to be the only statistic I’m given…

duane, I am more concerned with the preceding line to the quote you provided in the link: “Since acquiring him [Donald], they [the Indians, or anyone else for that fact] have barely had a chance to get a good look at him and his development path has been fractured at times in the minors because of various injuries.”

ST and dk, I reiterate that there is a significant difference between a potential Rule 5 Draft prospect and a so-called ‘regular’ baseball prospect. I understand the rules. I already agreed with you that Donald would be taken in the R5D if the Indians were to not protect him. That point is moot b/c we all know that they will add him to the roster. He IS more polished than other guys b/c he’s older. Plain and simple.

Using OPS as the single statistic to convince me that Donald is a better BASEBALL prospect than guys like Nick Weglarz is asinine.

never said Donald was a better prospect than Weglarz, said Donald is a better prospect than Hodges (pretty hard to argue against) and Rivero (I’ve never seen the guy play so I can’t judge much on him, but from a stat perspective he’s done nothing special, K rate and k/BB is nothing remarkable and similar to Donald, doesn’t steal bases, while Donald does steal some, hasn’t hit for power or average, while Donald has done both) Other than K rate, OPS and SBs I’m not sure what you’d be looking at stat-wise to judge a prospect’s offensive potential … Weglarz has power and draws a lot of walks so I get why they like him, I just consider him overrated until he does something to justify the hype at a level higher than A-ball. Hitting .227 in AA doesn’t cut if obviously, hopefully his struggles were all due to injury

ST and dk, I reiterate that there is a significant difference between a potential Rule 5 Draft prospect and a so-called ‘regular’ baseball prospect. I understand the rules. I already agreed with you that Donald would be taken in the R5D if the Indians were to not protect him. That point is moot b/c we all know that they will add him to the roster. He IS more polished than other guys b/c he’s older. Plain and simple. download greenberg

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