Tidying up the 40-man roster

Friday was the deadline for setting the 40-man roster.  It’s a really important deadline–teams must determine which of their players in the minor league they will subject to Rule 5 scrutiny, and who they will protect.  The Mariners made a flurry of moves.

Among the most visible was designating Danny Hultzen for assignment.  We know Danny’s story well. Drafted number 2 in the 2011 draft ahead of the injury-prone Anthony Rendon, General Manager Jack Zdurencik saw the University of Virginia star on a quick track to the major leagues.  Unfortunately a series of shoulder surgeries and recovery setbacks have kept the lefty from any meaningful pitching for the past two years.  If Hultzen is not claimed by another team, the Mariners will send him to the minors, according to a report by Greg Johns.

The Mariners also made a trade, sending outfielder Ramon Flores to the Brewers for infielder 22-year old infielder Luis Sardinas.  Sad to see Flores go.  Acquired in the Dustin Ackley trade from New York, he was tearing it up in Tacoma before he slipped on wet turf at Cheney Stadium and suffered a severely broken ankle.  I thought he might fit well in Jerry DiPoto’s new outfield, perhaps as a platoon mate for Nelson Cruz in right field or as a player off the bench. But, out of options, the Mariners hands were forced, and off to Sudsville he goes. The M’s get in return a no-hit, good glove infielder who can play shortstop, second and third.  Infield depth is a good thing, but it makes me wonder about Chris Taylor‘s spot in the organization.

The DFA and the trade left two spots on the 40 man roster for minor leaguers Patrick Kivlehan and Boog Powell.  Kivlehan was chosen in the fourth round of the 2012 draft.  I hesitantly characterize him as a typical Zdurencik player–a bat with no position.  Kivlehan was clearly more athletic than the Alex Liddis and Vinnie Catricalas, having played football and baseball at Rutgers, but with a position listed as first, third and outfield, one has to wonder if he is more than another “guy with a bat and glove” man. Boog Powell is the highly considered (perhaps overly optimistically) outfielder who came over in the Brad Miller trade with Tampa Bay.

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