Rays Prospects

Tampa Bay Rays Mailbag: Examining the Rule 5 Eligibles

By Robbie Knopf
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Aug 20, 2013; Ft Myers, FL, USA; Charlotte Stone Crabs third baseman Richie Shaffer (28) hits a solo home during the seventh inning against the Fort Myers Miracle at Hammond Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the RCG Mailbag, the place where we take those burning Tampa Bay Rays questions on your mind and give you answers.

The easiest way to submit a question is to fill out this Google form. Otherwise, you can comment on any of our posts here or on Facebook, email us at rayscoloredglasses at gmail dot com, or tweet me @RobbieKnopf. If you could start any question with “for the mailbag,” that would make things especially easy for me.

Ryan asks: Could you do a piece on which guys will be Rule 5 eligible this coming year, how they’re doing so far, and which ones will probably deserve a 40-man spot? Was just looking at the 40-man roster, and it looks like, with how a lot of guys having been playing well, there might be a bit of a roster crunch come the offseason. Interested to see your thoughts based on what we’ve seen so far.

Before we even get to the players, let’s talk about the 40-man roster for a second. Right now, the Rays only have 37 players counting against the maximum of 40, but there is no 60-day DL in the offseason, so not only Drew Smyly and Desmond Jennings will count against that number, but also Alex Cobb, Burch Smith, and Jeff Beliveau. That puts them at 42, although John Jaso, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Grady Sizemore will be free agents to put them back at 39.

Then, of course, we have the candidates to get designated for assignment. They will include Joey Butler, Jake Elmore, Beliveau (which would be unfortunate given his shoulder surgery), Brandon Gomes (pretty amazing that he is still around), C.J. Riefenhauser, Enny Romero, and Kirby YatesJose Dominguez, Grayson Garvin, Hak-Ju Lee, and Smith are four more guys that they would consider cutting. That leaves them with as many as 12 spots potentially available, and at least six that they would be willing to create through a DFA with no hesitation at all before we even get to any trades.

Now let’s get to the players, beginning with the locks. We’ll do this in slideshow format because there are such clean sections and because I’m going to be saying a lot. For a one-page view of the rest of the piece, click here.

Next: The Locks