Friday, August 14, 2009

September Call-Up — Jon Weber — Part Two

I don’t pay real close attention to the Tampa Bay Rays which may explain why two features of their approach this year escaped me until I started to try to martial my arguments for a Jon Weber call-up. The first conclusion I came to was that their “platooning” of right fielders has not done them much good. Matt Joyce’s overall numbers are better than either of the Rays’ right fielders. The second is that they have not figured out how to coach/manage B.J. Upton. What does the status of Matt Joyce and Fernando Perez have to do with the call-up of Jon Weber? Read on.

These two aspects of the Rays matter because of how the 40-man roster works and because if Jon is to go up to the Rays, someone is going to have to get pushed off the Rays 40-man. (Note: if it turns out I really don’t understand all the intricacies of the 40-man, waivers, DFA’ing, etc., here’s hoping someone will straighten me out.)

The basic rule for September call-ups is that a major league team can expand their “active” roster from 25 to 40 men. Said another way, anyone on the 40-man can come “up” to the Rays. However, the 40-man limit to a team’s roster is still in effect. If they want to call up someone who isn’t on the 40-man they have to make room.

The current TB 40-man is here. You will note that, oddly enough, there are 43 men on the page that has the 40-man roster. That’s because a players on the 60 day disabled list don’t count. Taking those players out, I count 39 on the current list. I’m guessing that the opening is in anticipation of either Aki Iwamura or Fernando Perez coming off the 60-day disabled list. If both come off soon, that will push them over 40 and someone will have to go. You can also see that several current Bulls are on the 40-man.

So at least one of those players, probably two, will have to be put on waivers before anyone from outside the list (Weber) can be added. I have my candidates for those who could be waivered at reasonable risk to the Rays, namely Riggans and Montgomery Catcher Lebaton. Your candidates welcome.

In addition to pushing someone off the 40-man, the purpose of a call-up to Tampa Bay in September has to be considered. That is, are they going to be in the hunt for a playoff spot, or not? If they are in the hunt, then clearly they want to add people to the 40-man that will make a difference in that effort. If they are not in the hunt, then probably they want to look at their “prospects” and consider options for 2010.

I boil it down to this: If the Rays are in the hunt and they see the issues in right and center field the way I do, then first they need Joyce in right and Perez available to play center. Both of them are already on the 40 man so no action will be required (beyond the one who has to be pushed off to make room for Iwamura/Perez).

In a perfect world, of course, the fact that Weber’s numbers are better than either Joyce’s or Perez’ would make a difference. But somehow I doubt that it does.

That leaves the only good reason to bring Jon up is to spell Carl Crawford in left (and/or as a designated hitter -- the Rays' dh isn't very good either). Again, if the Rays are seriously in the hunt, that’s a very good reason to bring Jon up and one that might be persuasive. In fact, it’s a pretty good argument even if they are not in the hunt, since none of the current prospects are being touted as up and coming left fielders.

I’ve left out of this three important considerations:
  • What about the playoffs and the Governor’s Cup?
  • What about Justin Ruggiano (on the 40-man) and Chris Richard (not on the 40-man)?
  • What about all the great comments the first posting received, particularly the one that reminded me that it was LaLoosh, not Crash Davis who got called up?
I’ll try to deal with those in another post.

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