The 40-Man Roster at 37 and Counting... Down

The 40-man roster will see a lot more shuffling this winter than the recent moves to drop Bucky Jacobsen, Justin Leone, Miguel Ojeda and Jorge Campillo. Many additional moves are more than possible, and some fo them may surprise you.

Click Here For Current 40-Man Roster and Contract Status

Mariner Minors Rule 5 Draft Eligibles

As of October 21, the M's 40-man roster has 43 names on it, six of whom are on the 60-day disabled list, which leaves the active 40-man number at 37. But the movement is far from over with and the club is likely to purge the 40-man even further, to make room for free agent and trade acquisitions, as well as to fill out the reserve list for the Rule 5 Draft. The Mariners would also like to remain in position to add to the 40-man through the minor league free agent route and the Rule 5 Draft, if they so choose.

Free Agent Drops

C – Dan Wilson (Retired)
RHP – Shigetoshi Hasegawa
RHP – Jeff Nelson
PH – Dave Hansen
SS – Pokey Reese

No chance that the M's choose to exercise their option on Hasegawa with Julio Mateo, Scott Atchison and Clint Nageotte ready to pick up any slack, if there even is any.

Nelson, too. He will find a job somewhere, it just won't be in Seattle. There are far too many minimum salaried options.

Hansen could end up back in Seattle, but, as usual, it won't be until June or July in a trade for a Budweiser Select bottle cap and a soup label to be named later.

Reese will simply end his career as a Mariner having never played a single inning. His $2 million options was never going to be picked up anyways, regardless of his health.

Probable Drops

RHP - Cha Seung Baek
RHP – Ryan Franklin
RHP – Jeff Harris
RHP – Masao Kida
RHP – Gil Meche

Baek's second consecutive disappointing season may have ended his stay in the organization. His knack for the nagging injury hasn't helped, either.

Franklin will likely be non-tendered, unless some sucker comes along that wants to take him off Bavasi's hands. But like my grand pappy used to say, "don't count on a sucker to be a sucker. It could be a dandelion." Either way, Franklin will be off the roster as soon as the club can get the paperwork faxed to the league.

Kida, 37, just doesn't offer anything to the organization that Atchison, Sean Green, Emiliano Fruto or Rich Dorman can't provide. One of the latter three may be taking his spot, possibly Green.

Harris will have a place in the organization, if he wants one. But it may be tough to justify keeping around a 31-year-old reliever over protecting a twenty-something prospect such as Thomas Oldham, Cesar Jimenez or Renee Cortez. It's probably 50-50 whether Harris returns, as other clubs saw him pitch this summer.

Meche will be gone one way or the other, but, unlike Franklin, he's 27 and has a little bit of value. The problem is his arbitration status. Something creative may get done with Meche, if the player is willing.

Potential Drops
LHP – Matt Thornton
2B/SS – Ramon Santiago
OF – Jamal Strong
PH – Greg Dobbs
2B/SS – Willie Bloomquist

Thornton may be let go, but probably only if the M's find themselves a cheap left-handed reliever to take his place. Sherrill has found a home, but the M's would prefer to have two southpaw relievers before closer Eddie Guardado. Ray King or Jason Christianson may fit the bill, if they come cheap. King has a two-year contract, but the Cardinals might be willing to eat some of it. Otherwise, and maybe even if, Thornton isn't likely to be going anywhere.

Santiago, 25, is a valuable piece to have, playing superb defense at second and shortstop. With Yuniesky Betancourt in the bigs and Adam Jones switching to center field, Santiago may be needed to play short in Triple-A Tacoma. If the club lands a younger player in a trade or via the free-agent route, then, and only then, would Santiago become fodder. He'll likely stay where he is.

Strong could ultimately block the playing time of players that have brighter futures, such as T.J. Bohn and Adam Jones. If it comes down to Strong or either of the above two talents, Strong might be dealt or designated for assignment. A healthy Strong is probably back in Tacoma for 2006, but Bohn may be leading the depth chart for center field.

Dobbs is an organizational favorite, but it could come down to plain old talent versus money. The veteran left-handed pinch hitter would have to be a clear-cut upgrade to Dobbs, both with the bat and the glove. Dobbs' salary and willingness to play anywhere at any time, and not being terrible at first and third base, gives him a leg up.

Bloomquist is probably back for 2006, serving as the main backup at second and short where the M's will have two inexperienced players, one with a history of injury. As long as the 28-year-old Bloomquist isn't unreasonable at the bargaining table, he'll be back. If he sticks to his guns about wanting to start, I hear the Kansas City Royals might have an opening for their starting bat boy position.

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