The Brewers have made a flurry of moves this week starting the the Francisco Rodriguez trade, followed by the Jonathan Villar trade, and most recently with the Luis Sardinas trade. But this week's transactions did not end there. Tonight at 8:00 pm ET is the deadline to protect eligible players from the Rule 5 draft.
As of right now the Brewers have chose to protect Orlando Arcia (SS) along with pitcher Jacob Barnes and Damien Magnifico by placing them on the 40-man roster. Arcia is the Brewers top prospect and a top 20 MLB prospect so it's not surprising to see his name on the list.
Damien Magnifico acted as AA Biloxi's closer this year and showed some real improvements as he transition to relief. He can reach 98 on the radar gun too. I'm hoping to see an improvement in his K% next year as relieving becomes more normal for him.
Jacob Barnes' season was similar to Magnifico as he also transition to relief this year. He had good numbers at AA and he really came on in the AFL. That was enough to convince the Brewers he was worth keeping around.
It might be surprising to some to see certain other names not added to the list, however there is still time.
#Brewers GM David Stearns said they are still discussing if should add another player or two to 40 man roster. Still two openings.— Tom (@Haudricourt) November 20, 2015
Last year the Brewers added a group to the 40-man roster. That group did not include David Goforth. I was quite surprised as at the time he was their top relief prospect. To be honest I was a little miffed because I had been a fan of his for a bit. Then later that night the Brewers announced they had decided to include him on the 40-man roster. It's possible something like that could happen tonight.
The roster now stands at 38. So at most the Brewers could add two more players assuming they don't remove anyone from the 40-man roster. JP made a good point to me that teams are DFA'ing players today in preparation for Rule 5 protection. I wonder if perhaps the Brewers are waiting to see which players become available on the waiver wire before making their final decisions about protecting players.
I think the two most notable names not added to the 40-man roster as of right now are Victor Roache and Wei-Chung Wang. Roache was a former first round pick. He has contact and strikeout issues. But he also has tons of power. He didn't have a great season at A+ and AA but it wasn't bad and he showed statistical improvement from previous seasons. Still, any team taking him in the Rule 5 draft would have to keep him on their major league team the whole season and it's really difficult to hide position players. That's why most of the time you'll see relievers get chosen.
Which brings me to WCW. That's exactly what the Brewers did with WCW in 2014. It was a rough season for him as was the start of this year. He was actually removed from the 40-man roster earlier in the season. However he came back with a vengeance. Despite that he's still never truly pitched above A+ and I don't think another team would want to further slow his development by trying to hide him in their bullpen like the Brewers did. By placing him in AAA to end the season the Brewers would force any team that takes him to keep him at the major league level. It's hard for me to see that happening.
If I had to guess I'll say no more players get added to the 40-man roster tonight (which surely means at least one will and if that happens we'll update). I think with regards to Roache and WCW the Brewers are taking a calculated risk. It's not that they don't mind if one is chosen in the Rule 5 draft. They're just betting neither will. And I think it's a pretty good bet.