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Rule 5 deadline looms

Who will the White Sox add to their 40-man roster?

Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox
Roster crunch: Adam Engel could find himself on the 40-man bubble.
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images
Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to

Last August, over at South Side Hit Pen our old friend WSM put together an early primer on the looming 40-man roster crunch for the Chicago White Sox heading into the 2019 Winter Meetings in December.

Working off of WSM’s original draft, with updates over time, here’s a thumbnail look at how the 40-man should shape up as the Rule 5 draft looms, about a month from today.

Arbitration-eligible players

Let’s assume all five arb-eligible guys will be offered arbitration and kept:

Alex Colomé
James McCann
Leury García
Yolmer Sánchez
Carlos Rodón

José Abreu took the qualifying offer from the White Sox, so let’s consider him a signed free agent, while fellow FAs, Iván Nova (unlikely to return) and Jon Jay (heh ... right) are cut loose.

Regular 40-man roster

So with six players on the 40, here are the 22 musts currently on (and remaining) on the 40-man:

Micker Adolfo
Tim Anderson
Luis Basabe
Aaron Bummer
Ryan Burr
Dylan Cease
Zack Collins
Jimmy Cordero
Caleb Frare
Jace Fry
Carson Fulmer
Lucas Giolito
Ian Hamilton
Kelvin Herrera
Eloy Jiménez
Michael Kopech
Reynaldo López
Evan Marshall
Danny Mendick
Yoán Moncada
José Ruiz
Seby Zavala

That puts the 40-man roster at 28. It’s conceivable that players like Fulmer, Cordero, Mendick, Frare, Burr or Ruiz are designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man, but you’d think it would take a massive win-now trade or incredible early free agent shopping to necessitate such moves before the Winter Meetings. So let’s assume these 28 are locks.

Vulnerable guys

So, the core White Sox 40-man stands at 28. There are five guys on the 40-man who might find their spots in jeopardy:

Dylan Covey
Adam Engel
Kodi Medeiros
Daniel Palka
Thyago Vieira

Engel and Medeiros would seem to be locks to stick on the 40-man, while the other three ... ?

If all five remain on the roster, putting the running total at 33.

Possible additions

Obviously, the White Sox can protect a full 40 players on its roster in advance of the Rule 5 draft, designating the lowest-priority players if and when the need arises as trades are made/free agents acquired. (Keep in mind that the club did not fill up its 40-man last year, and yet still did its funny little dance with the crosstown Cubs over Ian Clarkin.)

Here’s the group worth considering for protection on the 40-man (unprotected players won’t be “lost,” of course, but they will be vulnerable to other teams during the Rule 5 draft), ranked in a rough priority order rather than alphabetical:

Dane Dunning
Blake Rutherford
Bernardo Flores
Yermín Mercedes
Zack Burdi
Jimmy Lambert
Matt Foster
Kyle Kubat
Alec Hansen
Ti’Quan Forbes
Zach Thompson
Joel Booker
Danny Dopico

What’s your call?

So, based on the priority list above, and protecting all five “vulnerable” guys, that leaves a maximum of seven spots on the 40-man roster. Filling the 40-man means that Foster would be the last man protected.

Will the White Sox protect a full 40? And what players should be re-shuffled from the above lists in order to guaranteed that the strongest White Sox roster survives the Rule 5 draft?

Go on ahead and weigh in to the 40-man in the comments. It’s probably smart to assume the top 28 above are all safe and add up to 12 players from there.