I promised a Top 40, and we’re trying to power through it, but breaking news requires another 25-man roster checkpoint, as Tacoma Rain points out. So here goes.
Here’s the position players, with the “running total” in parentheses (there will be 13). Non-roster invitees are in green:
|Catcher||Mike Zunino (1)||John Buck (2)|
|First Base||Justin Smoak (3)|
|Second Base||Robinson Cano (6)||Nick Franklin? (7?)||Willie Bloomquist (8)|
|Shortstop||Brad Miller (9)||Nick Franklin?||Willie Bloomquist|
|Third Base||Kyle Seager (10)||Nick Franklin?||Willie Bloomquist|
|Outfield||Michael Saunders (11)||Logan Morrison||Endy Chavez|
|Dustin Ackley (12)||Stefen Romero (Hart spot? Franklin spot?)||Cole Gillespie|
|Abraham Almonte (13)||Xavier Avery|
|Corey Hart DL?|
First it was Logan Morrison not expected to play in the outfield, and Corey Hart would. Now it looks like Hart won’t either, and he might not be ready to play on Opening Day after forearm issues complicated his already fragile situation. So …
- Abe Almonte gets a starting OF job and 25-man roster spot by default (can’t have everyone at DH).
- Stefen Romero seems almost guaranteed a roster spot as well. The main issue being whether it will be Hart’s presumed spot — if he goes on the DL — or Nick Franklin’s.
Gillespie and Avery don’t really seem to be in the mix.
Remember, Franklin offers little help in a utility role, since his RH bat is below-average, and there are plenty of other LH bats. So I’m guessing they’ll try to keep Hart on the roster to DH, keep Romero, and Franklin will either be at AAA or part of a trade.
That puts a lot of pressure on Almonte and Romero, since the only other OF (so long as Hart and LoMo are limited) is Bloomquist, who will also be the only other IF.
At the end of the day, if neither Hart nor Morrison is going to play OF, then LoMo doesn’t really make sense, and maybe we’ll see him included in trade possibilities as well.
Here’s the pitching (there will be 12):
|Starters||Felix Hernandez (14)||Hisashi Iwakuma (DL)|
|Taijuan Walker (DL)|
|Erasmo Ramirez (15)|
|James Paxton (16)|
|?? (17)||Randy Wolf|
|Closer||Fernando Rodney (19)||Stephen Pryor (DL)|
|RH Bullpen||Danny Farquhar (20)|
|Tom Wilhelmsen (21)|
|?? (22)||Yoervis Medina|
|?? (23)||Hector Noesi (out of options)|
|LH Bullpen||Charlie Furbush (24)|
|?? (25)||Lucas Luetge|
Of course, the bombshell here is Baker not making the cut. I view it as an affirmation of Erasmo Ramirez, however. Despite Lloyd McClendon’s tough-love comments, they wouldn’t cut loose Baker unless they viewed e-RAM as a the guy they thought would be in there going forward.
If you have Felix-eRAM-KPax, and Iwakuma and Walker on the mend, then you’re only looking for two short-term guys.
And clearly Baker didn’t want to be one of those.
So it looks like Elias — who comes way up from completely off the radar, though it’s no surprise that he’s beaten out Beavan and Noesi — and Wolf get the fill-in roles.
In other words, if they’re going to use a 40-man roster spot, they want it to be for someone with a role to help the club after Kuma and Tai are back. Wolf apparently they think can help as a LH swing/relief role pitcher (may not be true, but that’s what they think), and Elias obviously was headed for the 40-man anyway, and can settle in Tacoma (where he should be) after the frontline guys return.
Baker, as a starter only, and who said he wouldn’t go to AAA, wasn’t “worth” a 40-man slot in that situation.
Among relievers, I still have Bawcom near the top since he’s on the 40-man, but, based on usage, they seem more interested in Miner and Ramon Ramirez, who both have gotten seven appearances (though with uninspiring results).
Obviously, we prefer our guys Smith and Leone, if they’re going to add guys from off the 40-man anyway. The two of them have 16.1 IP combined, and have allowed just one run between them.
Among lefties, they still seem to like Beimel, though I still can’t quite figure why they’d waste a 40-man move on him when they have Luetge and LaFromboise (the latter was already sent down to minor-league camp), plus Hill and, maybe someday soon, Emilio Pagan (next year’s version of Dominic Leone, except left-handed).