Adonis Medina is one of the consensus Phillies top five prospects
All teams in Major League Baseball have until 8:00PM EST on Tuesday, November 20 to set their 40-man roster in anticipation of the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place on December 13.
Players who were signed when they were 19 years or age or older and have played in professional baseball for four years are eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft, as are players who were signed at 18 and have played for five years. All players on an MLB team’s 40-man roster, regardless of other eligibility factors, are “protected” and ineligible for the Rule 5 Draft.
The Philadelphia Phillies are in as good shape as any team in the game right now in this regard. The Phillies currently have 34 players on their official roster. The club will definitely be adding one of their top prospects, pitcher Adonis Medina, prior to the deadline.
With the other five spots there are a number of options. The Phillies could simply protect five more of their own prospects. They could also trade with other teams who might be having difficulty cutting down to their own 40-man limit.
One player who could find himself getting moved before the deadline is Cory Spangenberg of the San Diego Padres. A versatile player, the 27-year-old appeared in 49 games at second base and 44 at third base, with another handful of appearances in left field this past season with the Padres. He even made a cameo in one game at shortstop.
Spangenberg hit .264 with 13 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 486 plate appearances as a regular for San Diego in the 2017 campaign. He made $1.7 million this past season and is arbitration eligible now during this current off-season.
The Phillies might be attracted to Spangenberg’s positional versatility on the infield if the price is right in exchange. About the only sure thing in the Phillies 2019 infield at this point is Scott Kingery, but will he end up at second base or return to shortstop?
Adding someone such as Spangenberg as an infield backup might make it easier to deal a couple of those veterans as the Phillies sort out their 2019 starting infield.
Might the Phillies be willing to take a chance on a veteran lefty reliever who has had solid success over most of his 10-year big-league career, but who is coming off an extremely disappointing 2018 campaign and is owed $15 million over the next two years?
If so, they might be willing to take Brett Cecil off the hands of the Saint Louis Cardinals, who are also up against a 40-man crunch. Cecil was converted from the rotation to the bullpen while with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012 and became one of the most effective relievers in the game over the next handful of seasons.
Whether the Phillies stand pat, add a number of their own prospects, take in additional players via trade, or some combination of those possibilities, their roster picture will be much clearer once the Tuesday deadline passes.
If the Phillies do fill up their 40-man roster before the deadline, that would not keep GM Matt Klentak from adding players such as big free agents Machado, Bryce Harper, or Patrick Corbin. But they would have to remove a player from that 40-man for each new player added.