The deadline to add players eligible for the Rule 5 draft to a team’s 40-man roster was on Thursday. As teams made room for prospects they needed to protect from the draft, several veteran players were outrighted or designated for assignment. We take a look at the notable names who were removed from the 40-man roster on Thursday.
What is the Rule 5 Draft?
Any player not on a team's 40-man roster who signed his first professional contract in 2011 or earlier who was at least 19 years old at the time he signed and any player who signed his first professional contract in 2010 or earlier who was at least 18 years or younger at the time he signed is eligible for the Rule 5 draft this December.
During the Rule 5 draft, teams select in draft order until all teams have declined to select players. Once a player is selected from an organization, that organization can pull back another eligible player to be protected. Teams that select a player must keep that player on their 25-man roster for the entire regular season or offer him back to his original team. The deadline to add players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft was Thursday night. As players were added to 40-man rosters to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, several players were removed from 40-man rosters to create roster space.
Ike Davis: The Pittsburgh Pirates designated Davis for assignment on Thursday. The 2008 first-round pick of the New York Mets appeared in 131 games for the Pirates in 2014. He hit .235/.343/.378 with 10 homeruns in 336 official at-bats. Davis began the year with the Mets, and he hit .208/.367/.375 in 12 games before being traded to Pittsburgh on April 18 for two minor leaguers. Davis is in his second year of arbitration-eligibility and was likely to make at least $4 million next season through arbitration. Davis has always been a very patient hitter. He hit 32 homeruns in 2012, but he struggled badly at the start of the 2013 campaign and was sent back to Triple-A briefly that June. He hit better after his return. Davis won the Mets’ starting first base job out of spring training, but quickly saw that job go to Lucas Duda. He was traded soon after Duda assumed the full-time job. Davis will be exposed to waivers and granted free agency if he isn’t claimed or traded. On the open market, he should receive plenty of interest from teams looking for a seasoned first-baseman with good on-base skills.
Jose Molina: With the Rays needing to clear several spots on their 40-man roster to make room for prospects, Tampa elected to designate veteran back-up catcher Molina for assignment. He will be exposed to waivers for 10 days, during which time the Rays can try to trade him. If Molina clears waivers, the Rays will owe him his $2.75 million salary for 2015. Molina is best known for his defensive skills and is considered one of the top pitch-framers in the game. The 39-year-old appeared in 80 games for the Rays last season and hit .178 with a .230 OBP. It was Molina’s third season with the Rays. He made his major-league debut in 1999 with the Chicago Cubs. He won a World Series in 2002 with the Anaheim Angels and in 2009 with the New York Yankees.
Juan Nicasio: Hard-throwing right-hander Nicasio was designated for assignment by the Colorado Rockies, who will look to trade the reliever to a team interested in taking a risk on a pitcher whose stuff has ranked better than his big league numbers thus far in his career. Since 2011, Nicasio has appeared in 88 games for the Rockies, 69 of those coming as a starter. He moved to the bullpen midway through the 2014 season and is likely to continue in a relief role with his next team. Nicasio owns a career MLB ERA of 5.03 in 381 innings. He has struck-out 294 and has walked 135. In his minor league career, Nicasio has averaged nearly a strike-out an inning. His fastball can touch 97.
Ryan Mattheus: Mattheus was outrighted off of the Washington Nationals’ 40-man roster on Thursday and he elected free agency. The right-handed reliever spent most of the 2014 season in Triple-A, but he appeared in 138 games for the Nationals from 2011-2013. Mattheus was a big part of the Washington bullpen in 2012 when the Nationals made the playoffs. That season, he had a 2.85 ERA in 66.1 innings. In 2013, Mattheus slumped to a 6.37 ERA in 35.1 innings. He had a 5.80 ERA in 40.1 innings for Triple-A Syracuse in 2014.
Blaine Boyer: The San Diego Padres designed reliever Boyer for assignment. Boyer pitched in the big leagues from 2005 through 2011 but didn’t reach the bigs again until this past season with San Diego. He pitched well for the Padres, posting a 3.57 ERA in 40.1 innings. He struck-out 29 and walked eight. He has a career 4.63 ERA in 274.1 career major league innings.
Michael Kohn: Kohn, acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays from the Los Angeles Angels this off-season, was designated for assignment by the Rays on Thursday. Kohn has 126 major-league appearances under his belt. In 110.1 innings in the big leagues, Kohn has a career 3.67 ERA with a 107:73 K:BB. Kohn threw 23.2 innings for the Angels last year. He was very hard to hit (11 hits allowed) and he struck-out more than a batter an inning (26), but he walked 20.
J.C. Gutierrez: After making 61 appearances for the World Champion San Francisco Giants in 2014, Gutierrez was designated for assignment on Thursday. The right-hander had a 3.96 ERA in 63.2 innings this past season for the Giants. It was the best season of his major league career, which has spanned parts of six seasons. Gutierrez has a 4.49 ERA and a 241:104 K:BB in 286.1 career major league innings.
Jim Adduci: Adduci was designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers. He appeared in 44 games for the injury-riddled Rangers in 2014, hitting just .168 in 101 at-bats. The outfielder had more success in a 17-game stint in 2013, hitting .258 with a .324 OBP. Adduci is a career .285 hitter in 902 minor league games.
Michael Roth: Roth was designated for assignment on Thursday. Drafted in 2012, Roth reached the big leagues with the Los Angeles Angels in 2013 and has pitched in 22 big league games for the Angels. The left-hander has found a lot of success in the minor leagues, but he has been roughed up at the major-league level. In 242 minor league innings, Roth has a 3.35 ERA and a 151:100 K:BB. In the big leagues, Roth has a 7.79 ERA and a 26:15 K:BB. He has allowed just two homeruns, however.
Anthony Bass: Bass was outrighted off of the Houston Astros’ 40-man roster after a 2014 season that saw him post a 6.33 ERA in 27 innings with the Astros. He struck-out just seven in those 27 innings. This was his first season with Houston after three years with the San Diego Padres. Bass was traded to Houston last December for minor leaguer Patrick Schuster. Bass had a 1.68 ERA in 48.1 innings for San Diego in 2011, but his K:BB was just 24:21. In 2012, he split time between the Padres’ rotation and bullpen, making 15 starts and nine relief appearances. He had a 4.73 ERA and an 80:39 K:BB in 97 innings.
Zelous Wheeler: The New York Yankees sold the contractual rights to Wheeler to a club in the Japanese Professional League, thereby freeing up a spot on their 40-man roster. Wheeler will play for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2015. A longtime prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers chain, Wheeler made his major-league debut this season with the Yankees. He appeared in 29 games, batting .193/.230/.298 with two homeruns.
Mike Bolsinger: Bolsinger, who made nine starts for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014, was designated for assignment on Thursday. The 2014 season was the right-hander’s first in the big leagues. He had a 5.50 ERA and a 48:17 K:BB in 52.1 innings for the D-Backs. Bolsinger also helped Triple-A Reno reach the PCL playoffs. He made 17 appearances (16 starts) at the Triple-A level and posted a 3.93 ERA with 88 strike-outs and 32 walks in 91.2 innings pitched.
Alfredo Marte: Marte was designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angels after the Angels acquired Daniel Robertson from the Texas Rangers in a trade. Marte had spent his entire career in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization before being claimed off waivers by the Angels earlier this off-season. Marte appeared in 66 games with the D-Backs over the past two seasons, hitting .174/.236/.282. He hit .319 with a 925 OPS for Triple-A Reno this past season.
Cole Figueroa: Figueroa, after appearing in 23 games with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014, was designated for assignment by the Rays on Thursday. Figueroa made his major league debut this past season and hit .233 with a .286 OBP. He is a career .290 hitter in the minor leagues.