Out-of-option players could soon be on the move
As final cuts are made and Opening Day rosters set, talent will become available
There is a light drawing near at the end of the Spring Training tunnel. With less than a week until Opening Day, players are beginning to slide into roles and rosters are starting to take shape.
Still, there are many players who are out of options and could find themselves in different uniforms by Opening Day.
(Once a player is placed on a team's 40-man roster, an optional assignment of the player to the Minor Leagues is permitted in three seasons. After that, the player must clear waivers to be assigned to a Minor League team.)
Let's take a look at some notable players who are out of options, and examine whether they might be traded, be made available via waivers or stick with their current club come the end of this week:
Tyler Greene, Astros: The Astros have informed the infielder that he will not make the team, and they intend to trade him. Houston already signed Ronny Cedeno to a one-year deal with hopes that the veteran can fill the void at shortstop. Meanwhile, Greene -- hitting .167 with no RBIs this spring -- seems to be bound for a different destination.
Casper Wells, Mariners: Wells is competing for an outfield spot in Seattle against veteran Jason Bay, who is trying to make a comeback after a disappointing tenure with the Mets. It'll be for the last roster spot, and if Bay gets it, Wells is out of options. And with the signing of Endy Chavez to a Minor League contract on Sunday, it means Wells' value as a backup center fielder is diminished. With him holding less and less leverage in Seattle, expect for him to have a new team shortly.
Jordan Schafer, Braves: The Braves are in need of a left-handed backup outfielder (they'd like a veteran), and it looks like Schafer could fill that role early in the season. But he hasn't hit much in his big league career (.221 average in three seasons between Atlanta and Houston) and has posted a .228/.313/.281 line through 24 Grapefruit League games. Schafer could be made available early if the Braves choose to keep Evan Gattis as a backup outfielder when Brian McCann is activated. Gattis, meanwhile, has been crushing the ball this spring -- with a 1.200 OPS, five homers and 14 RBIs in 21 games.
Jose Arredondo, Reds: With the Reds moving Aroldis Chapman back to relief, Cincinnati has even more of an embarrassment of riches in the bullpen and some of those guys are out of options. That includes Alfredo Simon and Arredondo, who has an ERA of 3.38 (four earned runs in 10 2/3 innings) this spring, and a 3.27 career ERA. Expect at least one of the Reds' extra relievers to be dealt soon.
Julio Borbon, Rangers: Both Borbon and the Rangers have acknowledged that his spring is likely serving as an audition for other clubs, with the likelihood that he will end up elsewhere by the beginning of the year. Borbon, who was Texas' Opening Day center fielder in 2010-11, hasn't played in the big leagues since 2011 but is hitting .360/.411/.500 this spring through 27 Cactus League games. Stuck behind Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin in Texas, it's likely that Borbon will be snatched by another team if the Rangers can't deal him soon.
Jose Lobaton, Rays: With a competition brewing for the backup catching spot -- and whoever gets it should see plenty of time behind Jose Molina -- either Lobaton or Chris Gimenez will likely be the odd man out. Lobaton is out of options and can switch-hit, while Gimenez has an option.
Tommy Hunter, Orioles: Baltimore has reportedly been taking calls on Hunter, who has been sharp in six Grapefruit League games this spring. He's scattered three runs and four hits over 10 innings, good for a 2.70 ERA, and has struck out nine. He's theoretically in contention for a Baltimore rotation spot but is so far down the depth chart that it's likelier he'll begin the year in the bullpen or with another club.
Jose Tabata, Pirates: The outfielder is out of options in Pittsburgh and could also be out of chances, with his big league batting average dropping each of his last two seasons in the Majors. The Pirates outfield is already overcrowded, and Tabata has a team-friendly contract, should there be other interested teams. Only 24, he could benefit from a change of scenery and be a contributor elsewhere.
Henry Rodriguez, Nationals: Davey Johnson has made it clear how much he loves Rodriguez's ultra-live arm, but nothing has come easy for the righty reliever. After undergoing surgery in August to remove a bone chip from his elbow, Rodriguez's command has been amiss, and he was recently dealing with elbow soreness. He's been expected to make the Nationals' bullpen all along, but this recent setback could mean a stint on the DL to begin the season. Even if that's the case, don't expect the Nationals to part ways with the talented fireballer.
Adam Rosales, Athletics: The 29-year-old utility man's versatility is what makes him an attractive piece, and he may not clear waivers if he doesn't make the roster. At this point, it looks like that could be the case. He's hit exceptionally well through a heavy Cactus League workload this spring, batting .343/.489/.657 with two doubles, three homers and nine RBIs. He's struck out just five times in 45 plate appearances, and in his five-year career has played all four infield positions and in left field.
Brett Cecil, Blue Jays: The left-hander is competing with Jeremy Jeffress for the last spot in Toronto's bullpen and whoever loses out will likely be dealt, as both relievers are out of options. Cecil has four years of Major League experience in Toronto under his belt and a 5.27 spring ERA. Jeffress' spring has not been much better (9.00 ERA in nine Grapefruit League outings). He spent the last two seasons with the Royals after making his debut in 2010 with the Brewers.
Ezequiel Carrera, Indians: The speedster is likely to be trade bait for the Tribe, which has both Carrera and left-hander David Huff (also out of options) on the roster bubble. Carrera's enticing because he can play all three outfield spots and offers good speed off the bench, making him a solid fourth outfielder for another big league team.