Hunsicker and the 40 Man Roster

added 8/6/2001 by Steve Cutchen

Folks seem to ALWAYS second guess Gerry Hunsicker's roster moves. For example, trading Scott Elarton, a young, strong pitcher for Pedro Astacio. Or trading another good young starter in Tony McKnight for the last part of Mike William's final contract year. But Gerry is under not only salary constraints. He's also under the pressure of the 40 Man Roster.

Sometimes, the Astros have to trim the roster from the top to make room for the guys coming up.

You know this.

You've see The Lion King.

It's the Circle of Life!

Trimming From the Top

As examples of the typical fan reaction to recent trades, I've been told the following:

"Astacio won't be around after this year, because he's got an option for $9 million next year and is really nothing more than a #3 starter. The Astros gave up 3 years of Elarton for 3 months of Astacio. Not at all a good trade."

and

"Williams is a nice pick-up if we can re-sign him. If not, he cost us McKnight."

A good farm system starts to squeeze you from below when you don't have enough 40-man roster slots to hold your 25 plus the good prospects that are Rule 5 eligible.

Last winter we lost Eric Ireland to this numbers game. The Cubs picked him up and traded him to the Oakland A's for Matt Stairs.

You have to start culling somewhere. That is the point of this structure as negotiated by the Player's Association. It forces the team's hands to do something with players or make them eligible for some other team.

To work the system, you have to decide who is not long term. Then you try to trade them for either someone you can use NOW or for someone that is young enough to buy you a bit of time on the minors roster.

That is the basis for this deal with Elarton and McKnight. Looking at the organization and the projected progressions, the Astros felt that neither were long term Astros in the show. So when can you get value for them versus play out their string here? With this pennant race, the Astros obviously feel that we have a chance to win THIS YEAR. So we make a move now for some immediate help. Whether Astacio or Williams are around next year is beside the point; we were going to have to cull the 40-man roster anyway, and we'd decided Elarton and McKnight were on that list. So spend them for help in THIS YEAR'S pennant race.

 

My Take on the End of Season 40 Man Roster

OK. So maybe this argument makes sense. But do we REALLY have to cull from the top THIS YEAR? Were Elarton and McKnight going to have a chance at the 40-man roster at the end of the season?

To answer that question, I've gone through my own analysis of the Astros organization and decided what I think the 40-man roster will look like after the end of the season.

Surprises Because They DID Make it

  1. Mike Jackson
  2. Ron Villone
  3. Tony Eusebio

Surprises Because They DIDN'T Make it

  1. Pedro Astacio
  2. Dave Mlicki
  3. Mike Williams
  4. Bill Spiers
  5. Glen Barker
  6. Brian Powell
  7. Mike Rosamond

Methodology

  • I started with the current 40-Man roster.
  • I did not take into account trading any current players. The possibilities there are endless. We could decide, for example, that we are going to trade Truby for a couple of guys that don't need 40-man roster protection. That would open a spot. And we give the third sacker slot to Morgan Ensberg next year.
  • I marked all of the players that are either arbitration eligible or are free agents at the end of the season. And I included Pedro Astacio because I know we are not about to pick up his $9 million+ option.
  • I decided which of these I wanted the Astros to re-sign. These went on the 40-man roster. My thought process went like this:
    1. Astacio. Too expensive. I'll find a spot for him if he'll come cheap enough. But I'm not betting on it.
    2. Bottenfield. Buh-bye.
    3. Jackson. I think he will come relatively cheap next year and he's good bullpen strength.
    4. Villone. Lefty. Bullpen strength. Can also start. 'Nuff said.
    5. Wagner. Most important off-season job is resigning Billy.
    6. Williams. Too early for me to commit. If he does well, someone will offer him a lot of money to close.
    7. Eusebio / Servais. I'll take only one. I picked Tony. Loyalty to Tony and to Shane.
    8. Castilla. Nails this year, but too expensive and we have Truby and Ensberg
    9. Spiers. Sorry Bill.
    10. Vizcaino. No room at the inn.
    11. Alou. I REALLY hope we resign him.
    12. Merced. See Vizcaino.

     

  • I looked at all of the other incumbents and decided which of these I did not want to keep on the 40-man roster
    1. The only one I cut was Glen Barker. Glen is a two tool guy; speed and defense. And he doesn't use his speed well offensively. So he goes. Especially with Jason Lane and Eric Cole coming up.

 

That's my Knuckleball. Try to hit it.


My 40 Man Roster Table

FA/Arb?

Protect/Keep?

40 #

INCUMBENTS

 

 

 

PITCHERS (22)

y

n

 

Astacio, Pedro

y

n

 

Bottenfield, Kent

 

 

1

Brocail, Doug

 

 

2

Cruz, Nelson

 

 

3

Dotel, Octavio

 

 

4

Franklin, Wayne

 

 

5

Hernandez, Carlos

y

y

6

Jackson, Mike

 

 

7

Kessel, Kyle

 

 

8

Lidge, Brad

 

 

9

Linebrink, Scott

 

 

10

Mann, Jim

 

 

11

Miller, Greg

 

 

12

Miller, Wade

y

n

 

Mlicki, Dave

 

 

13

Oswalt, Roy

 

 

14

Redding, Tim

 

 

15

Reynolds, Shane

 

 

16

Rodriguez, Wilfredo

y

y

17

Villone, Ron

y

y

18

Wagner, Billy

y

n

 

Williams, Mike

 

 

 

CATCHERS (4)

 

 

19

Ausmus, Brad

y

y

20

Eusebio, Tony

 

 

21

Maldonado, Carlos

y

n

 

Servais, Scott

 

 

 

INFIELDERS (11)

 

 

22

Bagwell, Jeff

 

 

23

Biggio, Craig

y

n

 

Castilla, Vinny

 

 

24

Ensberg, Morgan

 

 

25

Everett, Adam

 

 

26

Ginter, Keith

 

 

27

Lopez, Mendy

 

 

28

Lugo, Julio

y

n

 

Spiers, Bill

 

 

29

Truby, Chris

y

n

Vizcaino, Jose

 

 

 

OUTFIELDERS (6)

y

y

30

Alou, Moises

 

 

Barker, Glen

 

 

31

Berkman, Lance

 

 

32

Hidalgo, Richard

y

n

 

Merced, Orlando

 

 

33

Ward, Daryle

 

 

 

RULE 5 ELIGIBLE

 

 

 

R5 PITCHERS

 

 

Driskel, Travis

 

 

34

Jamison, Ryan

 

 

35

Nannini, Mike

 

 

Powell, Brian

 

 

36

Rodrigo, Rosario

 

 

37

Wade, Travis

 

 

R5 CATCHERS

 

 

38

Buck, John

 

 

 

R5 INFIELDERS

 

 

R5 OUTFIELDERS

 

 

39

Cole, Eric

 

 

40

Lane, Jason

Rosamond, Mike

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