(2:07pm) As announced on the official Blue Jays team site, the Jays have added outfielders Moises Sierra and Darin Mastroianni, pitchers Alan Farina and Joel Carreno, and catcher Brian Jeroloman to their 40-man roster, protecting them from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft on December 9th.
For anyone that is unsure about the details of the Rule 5 Draft, it is a draft of players who have been left off of their club’s 40-man roster, and the team with the worst regular season record picks first, concluding with the team that had the best regular season record. Each player is only eligible once a certain exemption period has elapsed. Only teams who have available spots on their 40-man roster can take part in the Rule 5 Draft, because any player selected is moved to that team’s 40-man roster immediately. Each player costs $50,000 and must remain on their new club’s Major League roster for the entire season, otherwise they will be sent back to their original club at half price. For a full in depth explanation on the Rule 5 Draft, you can always head here.
There have been notable players taken in the Rule 5 Draft that have had success at the Major League level including Joakim Soria, Dan Uggla, Johan Santana, Josh Hamilton, and Jose Bautista. The Toronto Blue Jays have a rich history with the Rule 5 Draft as well. Notable players that have been claimed by the Jays in the Rule 5 Draft include Willie Upshaw (1977), 1987 AL MVP George Bell (1980), World Series Champions Kelly Gruber (1983) and Manny Lee (1984), and Dewayne Wise (1999).
As for this year, the obvious pick out of the five players that were added to the 40-man roster would be outfielder Darin Mastroianni. Mastroianni has been tearing up the Venezuelan Winter League and had a very successful season at Double-A New Hampshire, so he is likely to receive a promotion to either the AAA or MLB level at some point in 2011.
Jeroloman, 25, is the Jays’ closest catching prospect to the Majors besides J.P. Arencibia, and could have had an outside chance of cracking an MLB roster as a potential backup, so his move to the 40-man roster to protect him makes some sense. Jeroloman closed out 2010 with a promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas for 7 games where he went on a tear hitting .316/519/.789, albeit a small sample size. Overall in 2010 Jeroloman had a .265/.436/.439 line with 9 HR and 38 RBI.
Farina, who has given up only 1 run in 10.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League so far, earned a promotion to Double-A midway through 2010, and succeeded there with a 1.40 ERA in 19.1 innings. He did, however post a 6.51 ERA in Dunedin in 2009. Even with the positive strides he made in 2010 and in winter ball this year, it’s hard to imagine him cracking a Major League bullpen for all of 2011.
The decision to add starting pitcher Joel Carreno to the 40-man roster was a bit puzzling though, but definitely not because I don’t like him as a prospect, as I think he will show some promise at Double-A New Hampshire before the end of the 2011 season and for years to come after that.
In a 2010 season spent entirely at Hi-A Dunedin, Carreno made 25 starts and was stretched out pitching a career high 137.2 innings. He finished the year with a 3.73 ERA and an 11.3 K/9. It’s hard to imagine a team plucking Carreno in the Rule 5 Draft and leaving him on their Major League roster for the entire season when the highest level he has pitched at is Hi-A, so it’s a tad puzzling why Carreno was protected in a move to the 40-man roster, especially when there were other players that come to mind.
Moises Sierra, is perhaps the biggest question mark out of this group of five players moved to the 40-man roster. Known for his good defense and arm, he has had an injury riddled minor league career thus far, and was limited to only 20 games between the Gulf Coast League and Hi-A Dunedin in 2010. None of his minor league seasons have been stellar, and has a career line of .256/.320/.375. Obviously Anthopoulos knows the players more than we do, but it’s extremely hard to imagine Sierra getting selected in the Rule 5 Draft.
Gregor Chisholm mentioned Brad Emaus and Adam Loewen as notable eligible players that were left unprotected this year. It’s likely that Loewen will pass through because teams will notice he needs another full season of at-bats to continue his development as a hitter, and he would surely not receive them at the Major League level.
Brad Emaus, however, should definitely have been on the 40-man roster after having a very successful 2010. He started the year at AA New Hampshire, playing the majority of, and finishing, at AAA Las Vegas successfully. A team looking for a utility man at the very least could snag Emaus, and the lack of depth the Jays have at third base is another reason to wonder about this decision.
All in all, it’s likely the Jays won’t even get any notable players claimed. If they do, the majority of Rule 5 picks get sent back to their original teams anyway. Nonetheless, there has been no shortage of interesting things Alex Anthopoulos has been up to this offseason that’s for sure.