Six Men Missing

The Giants added four minor leaguers to their 40-man roster today: pitcher Merkin Valdez, infielder Jamie Athas, infielder Angel Chavez and catcher Justin Knoedler. Of the four, only Valdez has drawn any significant attention -- he was the throw-in in the Ortiz-for-Moss trade and has become the Giants best minor league pitching prospect, now that Jerome Williams and Jesse Foppert are on the big league roster.

The addition of the four brings the Giants' 40-man roster to 34 players. Six spots are still open. Of course a few of those spots will be filled via free agent signings or trades, but six? (It should be pointed out that all the free agents -- Snow, Aurilia, Worrell, etc., are not on the 40-man roster.)

Do they really need to keep that many spots open? It seems to me they could have filled at least a couple more spots with promising minor leaguers to prevent them from being swiped in next month's Rule 5 draft. David Aardsma, for example. He's their shiny new #1 draft pick who had a solid debut in single-A...might not someone nab him in the Rule 5 draft? How about Matthew Cain, who struck out 90 and only walked 24 in 74 IP at Hagerstown in 2003? Or Eric Threets, a lefty who supposedly throws in the high 90s? Sure, they'd have to remain on the selecting team's 2004 big-league roster all year, but for a non-contender like Tampa Bay or Baltimore or the Mets who can afford a raw rook at the back end of the bullpen, it's not such a big risk to take.

Why did the Giants only add four players? The Braves added ten and now have 37. The Red Sox added six, including Youkilis, the Greek God of walks, and now have 35.

If someone has an explanation of some of the underlying strategy of 40-man roster construction, I'm happy to post it.


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