Fish Or Cut Bait? Omaha Edition

Clark FoslerCorrespondent IOctober 1, 2008

Decision time is nearing for Dayton Moore and the Royals. Soon the seven players currently on the 60 day disabled list will no longer be exempt from counting towards the 40 man roster. Arbitration will loom, tender/non-tender decisions will need to be made, the Rule 5 draft will come, options will come due and for GODSSAKE Zack Greinke will need to be engaged in long term talks. There will be plenty of discussion on those issues in the days, weeks and months to follows.

As the big league moves are made, keeping the players in the high minors in mind as the 40 man roster is crafted will be another factor. Today, we are not going to examine the players eligible for the Rule 5 draft today or delve with any great detail into their contract status and eligiblity for free agency (be it major league or minor league). Instead, this will be a quick and dirty gut feeling on the players in AAA just to give everyone a starting point for discussion.

You Have to Keep ‘Em
Carlos Rosa, Yash Yabuta, Brayan Pena, Kila Ka’aihue - With the exception of Pena, all three are already on the 40 man roster. You don’t necessarily want to keep Yabuta, but with $3 million tied up in him for 2009 you pretty much have to. As an aside, Brandon Duckwork, Ryan Shealy and Mitch Maier are not discussed here as we’ll consider them major league decisions.

All Things Being Equal, You’d Like to Have Them Around
Roman Colon, Dusty Hughes, Devon Lowery, Brad Salmon, Angel Sanchez, Neal Musser - Five semi-useful bullpen type arms and a shortstop that is still just 24 and has not been healthy for two years. Sanchez is already on the 40 man, as are Lowery and Musser. Hughes is a lefty reliever who will be Rule 5 eligible if not placed on the 40 man roster this fall. Does the world end if any or all of these guys leave? No, but they’re worthy of at least a AAA roster spot in 2009.

Matt Wright, Matt Tupman, Shane Costa, Chad Spann, Jose Capellan - Pretty much know what you have here and pretty much don’t care. I still think Costa could be a serviceable fourth outfielder in the majors, maybe even a platoon type regular, but if roster spots get tight are you really going to sweat losing these guys?

Already Gone
Gookie Dawkins, Dave Matranga, Brian Buchanan, Damon Hollins, Josh Labandeira - Everybody has a group like this in AAA. They’ll all play somewhere next year, unless they decide the health insurance package at Sears is too good to pass up.

The Official ‘Cut Bait’ Group
Tyler Lumsden, Jeff Fulchino, Chris Lubanski, Mike Stodolka - Lumsden has spent two years showing the Royals why he does not deserve a spot on the 40 man roster. Lubanski, now five and one-half seasons removed from being a number one pick, is getting worse not better. No one will bite on him in the Rule 5 and hence the Royals will likely give him one last hurrah in AAA next year, but when was the last time you heard anyone in the organization even mention Lubanski’s name? The Stodolka experiment crashed and burned in Omaha in 2008 and as a minor league free agent, he might try a different locale.

In the end, as in the beginning, the Omaha Royals’ roster was pretty uninspiring. You have two absolute keepers in Ka’aihue and Rosa and some decent spare parts in Pena, Lowery, Hughes and the like. Right now, the only guy that, in my opinion, who is not on the 40 man roster and simply MUST end up there is Brayan Pena.