The Rule 5 draft is a ways away at this point still, but the decisions on who to protect will be coming up very soon when teams have to start making decisions on the 40 man roster.

I put together a list of players who will need to be protected. It is not a full list, but I believe everyone who has even the slightest chance of being selected is represented on this list. I have broken it down by where the player was acquired.

2004 Draft 2005 Draft 2006 Draft International/Earlier Drafts
Philippe Valiqutte James Avery Ben Jukich Alexander Smit
Sean Henry Chris Denove Chris Heisey Enerio Del Rosario
Logan Ondrusek Chris Valaika Leonardo Astorga
Travis Wood Dallas Buck Luis Montano
Danny Dorn Wes Bankston
Derrik Lutz Ruben Medina
Jordan Smith
Kris Negron
Lee Tabor
Logan Parker
Sean Watson
Travis Webb

A lot of guys from that 2006 draft need to be protected, showing the depth that draft had for the Reds. I put the players who I believe have the strongest chances of being taken in bold. That is 11 guys. I am assuming that the Reds will remove these players from the roster: Lehr, Wells, Miller, Barker, McDonald and Nix. That would leave 6 open spots on the roster. These players are also questionable in terms of being left on the roster:  Ramon Ramirez, Daryl Thompson, Adam Rosales, Drew Sutton and Willy Taveras.  I think at least one of those guys will be off the roster. I hope Taveras joins that person, but am not as confident.

At the very least the Reds absolutely must protect these players: Chris Heisey, Travis Wood, Philippe Valiquette and Logan Ondrusek. That right there is 5 guys. That list doesn’t include Chris Valaika, Danny Dorn or Enerio Del Rosario, much less guys with good arms but questions on their resumes in Jordan Smith, Dallas Buck and Sean Watson.

So who would you protect? Who would you drop from the 40 man roster to protect those guys? Remember that if you want to sign a free agent, you probably need to leave a spot open on the roster for them.

67 Responses

  1. erik

    5 I would definitely protect: Heisey, Wood, Valiquette, Ondrusek, Valaika

    My next tier: Dorn, Buck, Del Rosario (all three I want to keep)

    Guys I don’t know enough about: Smith and Watson

    I would leave Thompson unprotected also, and maybe even Rosales, who I don’t see having much upside personally, Sutton looked better and is a switch hitter. And I would DFA taveras now because it actually is worth dumping him to protect another player, a sad thing to say for an established major leaguer.

  2. The Rage

    Rosales has always been a very adaptable kid. Struggles at the new level, then works hard and figures it out.

    • wanderinredsfan

      I think Rosales is safe. The guy can play all infield positions and is a decent hitter. It hasn’t translated yet in limited time with the Reds, but folks shouldn’t forget just how good he hit in the minor-leagues over the past 2-3 seasons. Definetely a piece worth keeping or including in a trade.

      • Doug Gray

        I think Rosales and Sutton are similar players….. I don’t think the Reds need both of them on the 40 man.

      • wanderinredsfan

        I don’t think they need both players either, but I think both currently have more value to a major league team than a lot of others that could be left unprotected. I think you have to build the roster very strategically, considering that a player once drafted in the rule-5 has to remain on the active 25-man roster for an extended period of time during competitive play. I think if you leave Sutton or Rosales unprotected, they will be drafted immediately. I think other options for their roster spot (Dorn, Smit, etc.) could slip through while unprotected, however.

        It’s all a gamble, one that a front-office’s aptitude should be measured by. I’ll be very interested to see how this offseason goes down, because, in my mind, the GM and front-office need to prove that they have a clue. I’m just not convinced yet that Walt and company have a plan worth supporting. Can you blame me? (see previous deals to Taveras, Lincoln, Hernandez, Hairston, and Rolen)

      • coltholt

        Sutton and Rosales will not have anything to do with the Rule 5 because they are already on the 40 man. In order to take them off the roster, they would be exposed to waivers…at which point the reds would get no compensation and the receiving team would not have to keep them on the active 40 man. The only way they could be in the rule 5 talks is if they clear waivers, accept a minor league assignment, then were taken through the draft…which would make no sense.

      • wanderinredsfan

        Good point, further evidence that Rosales and Sutton are likely to remain on the 40-man roster.

      • erik

        right, they would be exposed to waivers, which I think rosales might actually clear. I base my skepticism of rosales on nothing more than him just seeming like a quad A type guy. He’s a back up infielder, and if that’s his ceiling I don’t have much of an issue letting him go. he never seemed good enough defensively to be worth keeping in that role, though I absolutely wouldn’t consider myself an expert on that kind of stuff. ultimately it comes down to who you would protect instead of him, so whatever your feeling were on the last player you were considering would be the deciding factor.

        I’ve never given much thought to guys clearing waivers and then being eligible for the rule-5, I didn’t think that was how it worked, but maybe it does.

      • dave

        I would drop both rosales and sutton along with ramon ramirez and taveras.you can find backup infielders like then at any time.keep as much young talent as you can.

  3. wanderinredsfan

    40-Man Roster Prediction:
    1. Bronson Arroyo
    2. Homer Bailey
    3. Bill Bray
    4. Jared Burton
    5. Francisco Cordero
    6. Johnny Cueto
    7. Carlos Fisher
    8. Aaron Harang
    9. Daniel Ray Herrera
    10. Sam LeCure
    11. Phillipe Valiquette
    12. Mike Lincoln
    13. Matt Maloney
    14. Nick Masset
    15. Micah Owings
    16. Ramon Ramirez
    17. Arthur Rhodes
    18. Daryl Thompson
    19. Pedro Viola
    20. Edinson Volquez
    21. Logan Ondrusek
    22. Travis Wood
    23. Ryan Hanigan
    24. Ramon Hernandez/Free-Agent
    25. Craig Tatum
    26. Chris Valaika
    27. Yonder Alonso
    28. Joey Votto
    29. Juan Francisco
    30. Paul Janish
    31. Brandon Phillips
    32. Scott Rolen
    33. Adam Rosales
    34. Drew Sutton
    35. Chris Heisey
    36. Wladimir Balentien
    37. Jay Bruce
    38. Chris Dickerson
    39. Jonny Gomes
    40. Drew Stubbs

    I truly believe that there is no reason to protect Taveras. If he wants to play next season, then I think he will likely have to do it through the Reds, since I don’t think another team will even offer him a contract.

    I am waivering on whether the Reds will protect Thompson, or replace him with Smith, Buck, or someone else. I’d like to know more about the injuries of Thompson, Buck, or Smith, and whether their respective injuries will be something that other GMs will steer clear from. If GMs are scared of Buck, Smith, or Thompson, then there is no need to protect them.

    If this is the case, then I say protect Smit or Bankston. I know many are high on Dorn, but I think Bankston has more value considering he can play 3rd and has better career splits.

  4. Rich D

    Doug,
    I was just wondering if you researched these players to get the list or if there is a site somewhere to get the list of players?

  5. Chi Redsfan

    Is it possible to implicitly “sell” Tavaras by pairing him with a decent prospect or two in exchange for something of little value (like a Weems/Negron). The acquirer pays the $4MM salary from Tavaras but gets the prospects as compensation? If so how good do u think the prospects would have to be?

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t think the Reds could sell Taveras unless they paired him with someone inside our Top 10.

      • wanderinredsfan

        Call it a financial loss and move on. I absolutely see no value in keeping Taveras. He’s not even 3rd or 4th on the depth-chart for any of the outfield positions, IMO. At this point, I think McDonald has more value than Taveras. There is absolutely no reason to keep Taveras on the roster, unless Walt is just too embarrassed and stubborn to admit his mistake.

        Walt lost on his gamble, and he should remember all those who supported the Taveras signing, and to remember to take each of those folks’ opinion with a huge grain of salt. Walt’s most prudent move now is to limit the damage and hope that Stubbs, Dickerson, and Heisey have us all forgetting that Taveras was ever signed in the first place.

      • erik

        mcdonald being better than someone who will probably be on our opening day roster is a scary thought.

      • Chi Redsfan

        My point is ultimately not about Taveras, I asssume his value is zero. It is really about what $ value prospects have. The Reds have a relative abundance of minor talent and a relative lack of cash, hence a possibility to marry the two (by “selling” the prospects to the “rich” clubs, this used to be done explicitly in the 40s and 50s). BUT if it would take “top 10″ talent to bring in $3.5+MM then the prospects are valued less than I perhaps thought.

      • Doug Gray

        I think its more of a ‘no one wants to pay Taveras 4M to be the worst player in baseball again’.

      • Chi Redsfan

        The acquirer could cut Taveras immediately, they would be paying the $(Tavaras’ salary) for the prospects

  6. Pat

    There is no reason to protect Kip Wells, Ramon Hernandez, Willy Taveras, Darnell McDonald, Craig Tatum, Kevin Barker or Drew Sutton on the 40-man roster. The organization does not lose anything by DFA’ing any of those players.

    Saying that I still believe there is value to be found in keeping Lehr, Rosales, Laynce Nix and especially Daryl Thompson. I would much rather let 3/4 of the catcher core walk than Thompson.

    • coltholt

      First, you just DFA’d two catchers, so obviously at least one of those spots goes to 1 of those spots will go to a free agent catcher and will not help the rule 5 issue. Second, lets just clarify that protecting a player means putting them on the roster. Removing a player from the 40 man does not mean that you leave them unprotected, it means that they are exposed to waivers.

      • Ryan

        If they let Ramon Hernandez walk they get a nice draft pick in the draft. So i say lets save the 5+ million it would take to resign him and get a draft pick. Let tatum or miller backup hanigan.

      • Doug Gray

        You have to offer him arbitration to make that happen and he would get overpaid at that amount. Big risk to take.

      • Dan

        I don’t think you can offer arbitration to Ramon. I think the only choices are, pick up his exorbitant option (no chance), or let him become an unrestricted free agent (and either sign him or not).

        But there’s no arbitration or compensatory draft pick involved, is there?

      • mark

        They can decline his option and offer arbitration, but it’s still very risky to do.

  7. Ryan D

    1. Does the 40 man count include Ramon Hernandez’s option being decline?
    2. Are Sutton and Rosales really both out of options? According to Cot’s they were both added to the 40 in 2008 which would mean they have options left and would not have to clear waivers.

    • Doug Gray

      Mine did. There is no way the Reds pick up his option. They could bring him back, but it won’t be for what his option is set at.

    • mark

      Sutton and Rosales still have options, but when a player is optioned to the minors they are still on the 40 man roster.

  8. Krozley

    Richar and Castillo are on the current 40 man as well, and they should be taken off. I’d keep both Sutton and Rosales unless they obtain another shortstop. In fact, Wanderin’s list is pretty much how I’d do it as well. If the Reds wait till January to bring another catcher in, they can protect another spot temporarily (Dorn). They could drop Tatum or someone else later. I also think Bray and Thompson are not locks due to their injury histories, although I think they’ll keep Bray unless his recovery is not coming along. I think Smit and Watson, if unprotected, would have a chance of being selected in the Rule 5 draft.

    • erik

      Richar and Castillo are on the 60 day DL so they aren’t taking up spots at the moment. I actually forgot about the 60-day DL players, that could muddy up things a bit. I wouldn’t mind holding onto richar, but him sutton and rosales all are pretty similiar players.

      • Doug Gray

        The 60 day DL goes away soon and those players count for the 40 man roster until the start of the 2010 regular season.

      • erik

        ok I remember seeing something about that once but couldn’t find anything about that rule online, I almost asked about it just now. so basically that means that if they want to keep volquez he will be taking up a spot freed up by one of the guys they will release correct? that makes it even harder to open up spots for the rule-5 eligibles.

      • erik

        i’ll answer my own question: yes.

        man, not sure I keep richar then, or castillo especially if the Reds want to resign Ramon. gonna be interesting to see who they leave off.

  9. Krozley

    Another thought on who to choose to keep is their option status. If Thompson is out of options (he might be, I don’t know), that would mean he would need to make the 25 man roster, which isn’t going to happen. Same with Balentien. You can protect Thompson by putting him on the DL in that case, but Balentien has to be on the 25 man roster or someone could take him. If the Reds decide to keep Taveras and Gomes, there would not be a spot for Balentien, barring injury to someone. Just another reason to let go of WT now.

    • Ryan D

      why does Thompson need to make the 25? Since he is on the 40 he will just have a minor league contract and start at AAA. Having no options won’t be relevant till placed on the 25.

      • Krozley

        If a player is out of options, he cannot be sent to the minors without first clearing waivers. Thus, someone could claim him off waivers if he is not on the 25 man roster. I’m not sure if Thompson has options left or not.

      • Ryan D

        but thompson is not on the 25 and does not have to placed on there before the season. he can just be assigned to louisville.

      • GregD

        I’m not sure whether Thompson has options remaining or not, but the way I understand 25 vs 40-man rosters to work is that the rosters are now expanded to 40-man. It started at the beginning of September.

        In 2010, any player on the 40-man who does not make the 25-man roster in spring training has to be optioned to the minors if he is to remain on the 40-man. He could be designated for assignment, but that would mean that he is taken off the 40-man.

        He could also be released now, signed as a minor league free agent. Anyone signed to a minor league deal and invited to spring training, could be assigned to the minors without impact to status because those folks are not on the 40-man roster.

      • mark

        Thompson has 1 more option, so he can spend all year in the minors. Balentien does not thus he must be on the opening day squad or be placed on waivers.

  10. THEMONSTER

    DEL ROSARIO IS A MUST KEEP!!! CRAZY NUMBERS THIS YEAR, STARTED IN HIGH A AND ENDED UP IN TRIPLE-A EXCELLENT ERA UNDER 2 IN 80 INNINGS WITH ONLY 15 ER!! WAOOOO

  11. huntforredsoct

    I think Bray may be DFA’d because the Reds were very unhappy with his not following their off-season program every year and coming in hurtevery year.

  12. mdccclxix

    One thing about an injury prone guy is that he’s easy to stash on the DL once you take him in the rule 5. Something to consider.

    • coltholt

      You can’t actually do that. You can’t just stash a guy on the DL. If the guy spends the entire season on the DL, I am pretty sure that he would have to spend the entire next season on the active roster.

      • Doug Gray

        That is correct. And to further that if the player spends most of the year on the DL, there is a total amount of time a player must remain active. If that time isn’t met, it does carry over to the next season before that player can be sent down the next year.

      • mdccclxix

        Still, the point is, get an injury risk guy – let it play out. Especially if he’s your last bullpen guy, or your PH or something. Josh Hamilton was injured a lot his rookie year and it worked out great for us in that regard.

        Then the question is, why do you need an injury prone player?

        Injury risk guys that would be easy to keep in the bullpen or bench and send to the DL as needed:

        Bray
        Buck
        Thompson
        Ramirez
        Castillo
        Richar

  13. KyWilson

    I would protect the highest upside guys and let the middle of the roaders toe the line. If worst comes to worst they loose a couple of decent players and replace them with there own rule 5 pick. But if the player doesnt stick we get them back anyways.

  14. Yeah

    How many picks are there in the draft? Is it 1 per team, as many as a team may want, or somewhere in between?

  15. Kevin

    Doug,
    Why is Valiquette a definitely keep? Is it just because he’s a lefty? I don’t see anything in his numbers that indicates he’s worth keeping. He ended his age 22 season at AA, and nearly walked as many as he struck out. What do the eyeballs tell us that the numbers don’t?

    I don’t see how another team would want a guy that’s only pitched in 27 games above A+ ball to be on their major league team for a full season.

    • Tim

      Kevin,

      You need to protect guys with high ceilings because there are 30 teams in MLB and 30 different agendas. Teams like the Pirates, Nationals, Indians, et. aren’t necessarily in a place to contend right now, so it’s not a big deal to take a guy and keep him for a year even if he doesn’t have an exceptional year. The Nationals bullpen last year was HORRIBLE, so if you can replace one of those guys with a young, high upside, and cheap player through the rule 5 draft, then you do it.

      That’s why the Reds front office needs to get this right this year. Based on their decisions in FA and the trade market in the last year, I’m not very optimistic the Reds are going to get this right.

    • wanderinredsfan

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that Valiquette has the best pure-arm of all the lefties in the Reds’ farm-system. I could see arguments being made for Viola or a low-level lefty arm like Thurman. Granted, both Viola and Valiquette need to gain some control, or they will never be of any value to a major league team. But, for now, I think Cincy needs to hold onto both and hope that they can find some modicum of control. If either player can hone their control, than that player could be a very special major-league reliever.

      • Jim H

        Valiquette has electric stuff. As a lefty, you can count on him being selected. These three are certain Rule V’s from Doug’s list: Heisey, Valiquette, Wood. After that it is a crap shoot although Ondrusek and Del Rosario are candidates because relief pitching is in high demand, especially on the cheap. RHP are a dime a dozen so they are less likely to go. Smit may get snagged, but is much more likely to be returned than Valiquette or Wood.

      • wanderinredsfan

        I’d put Ondrusek on equal grounds with Valiquette when it comes down to roster protection. Valiquette is a lefty, but Ondrusek’s performance this past season is nothing to sleep on. In fact, I’d be willing to bet on Ondrusek’s projection over Valiquette’s, especially given Ondrusek’s size and easy delivery. Either way, I think both need protecting, even if it’s for the cost of another pitcher like Ramirez or Thompson.

      • Dan

        Has Ondrusek settled down in Arizona? He got POUNDED in his first outing.

      • Jim H

        Much rather keep Ondrusek over Thompson. I like how Ramirez looked in the Reds pen in Sept. He would make a good spot start/long guy.

      • Doug Gray

        I like Ramirez, but at his age he isn’t a guy I am sure that they must protect.

    • Doug Gray

      Valiquette has a power arm that from a lefty standpoint can only be matched by Pedro Viola. The last time I saw Valiquette pitch his fastball was sitting 94-95 MPH. A team will take an arm like that and hide him. The Pirates took Donald Veal this past season and his numbers from 2008 were as follows: 4.58 ERA in AA, 81 BB, 123 K. They kept him on the roster all year with multiple DL trips that led to him only throwing 16.1 innings for the Pirates and he posted a 20 walk/16 strikeout season. Bad teams can do things like that on real good arms.

      • Chi Redsfan

        and I believe Veal is lights out in the AFL at the moment

        the fact that the Reds may lose somebody or bodies in the Rule V is a good sign

      • mark

        And Veal will have to be on the 25 man again or be offered back.

  16. MK

    Is Logan Parker just a nice guy because I don’t understand why he always appears on lists here? Of what I have seen if the Reds get a draft fee for him it is the most they can ever hope for.

    • wanderinredsfan

      While I’m not very high on Logan, I think we should take last season’s results with a grain of salt. His BABIP was terribly low (.280), lowering his relatively down numbers to abyssmal-level. Logan has some pop in his bat, is fairly patient at the plate, and plays a position that the Reds could use some depth at. He’s a player with a short-leash with respects to proving himself, but he’s also has the potential to blossom next season, thus becoming an asset. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Logan put up a line of .300/.380/.500 next season in Carolina and push his way to L’vile. However, I would be content with a .270/.350/.480 line similar to his 2008 campaign, which is much more probable.

    • Doug Gray

      Parker struggled this year, but he has solid power and a good plate approach. It didn’t show up this year for whatever reason but whenever I talked to people about him the talk was always about ‘when he starts hitting look out’, which tells me people believe in him still.

  17. mark

    “Lehr, Wells, Miller, Barker, McDonald and Nix. That would leave 6 open spots on the roster.”

    No it would not you have to add in the guys on the 60 day dl.

    They’ll probably have no more than 4 open spots (maybe only 3) to add those they wish to protect. SP’er Travis Wood, OF’er Chris Heisey, and IF’er Chris Valaika are automatics.

    The Reds will have to decline options, DFA, or outright release players to clear spots on the 40 man for anyone they wish to protect. In my opinion those players will be Hernandez, Miller, Lehr, Wells, Nix, Richar, Barker, and McDonald. Considering they have 44 players right now on the 40 man roster (when you include the guys who have to be returned from the 60 day dl) dropping those 8 would give them 4 open spots to fill with rule v eligible players and/or free agents (1 of which must be a catcher). Ramirez, Castillo, Sutton, and Rosales all stay IMO.