Mitchell: Minor Bumps
Though the Tribe have tried to stockpile depth with a bevy of minor league signings recently, Jordan Bastion reported earlier today that the Indians and Julio Lugo have broken off talks and he is now unlikely to sign with the club. That leaves the total on minor league signings this off season at 17 (10 of whom have an invitation to Major League camp). Where do all of those guys go once the season starts? Well, many will be released, some could be traded, and a choice few will stick with the organization. This season, it will be easier for teams to hold on to some of their depth players.
For years, Triple-A and Double-A clubs have been operating under a roster limit of 24 players, one less than the Major League and A-ball roster rules allow. This year that will change. Now Double and Triple-A clubs will have a 25-man roster as well. How much does that matter for the average fan? probably not a ton. In fact, there are many days out of the season where the Clippers roster is 23 or fewer due to injury, call-ups or some other reason.
There will be benefits and drawbacks to this expansion. Now managers will not be so handcuffed by roster moves by the big club leaving them short-handed for the short-term. Last season due to injury and call-ups, Jerad Head was not only forced to play center field (which he did admirably, if not spectacularly), but he was also for a while the Clippers only back-up infielder. These instances are not rare, but they are usually brief. What it will likely do for the majority of the season is cause minor league managers to try to find playing time for one more position player, or find innings for another reliever. Most minor league teams utilize a 12-man pitching staff already, so I would guess that the 25th man on most Triple-A teams will be a position player.
One other possible consequence is the reduction of the reliance on the short-season rosters the Disabled List to keep a guy around though he’s not able to play. With an extra spot, those guys can stay put and active.
From a business standpoint for the minor league teams, the extra player could mean one more uniform to wash, one more seat on a bus or airplane, one more hotel room and meal money for a player who may not see much field time. For the Major League club, it’s one more Double-A and Triple-A salary and the things that go along with it. None of these things will bring down a franchise and overall, it’s 60 more spots for guys to try to continue their dream and earn a paycheck. As for the Clippers, Team President & General Manager Ken Schnacke says there will be “Virtually no effect on us because we have been carrying “healthy DL players” over the years.” Many teams will be in the same boat.
Clippers stat guru Anthony Slosser bemoans the fact that an additional player will throw off the symmetry of his should-be-award-winning game notes. But I’m sure he will find a way to make it work.
With all of the minor league free agents the Indians have signed over the off-season (17 to be exact), the extra spot is sure to be well-utilized by the Clippers and may serve to allow someone to slide down to Double-A, in essence creating two openings on the Clippers roster.
For the pre minor league signing roster predictions, check out the links below
Here is the list of Minor league free agents the Indians have signed this off season
|RHP||Jose De La Torre|
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