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