November 20 is National Absurdity Day, created as a day to recall and note some of the entirely off the wall and ridiculous things in history. The Atlanta Braves didn’t take part, but it seems a couple of teams did as they cleared roster space by letting good players go in order to protect prospects from the Rule 5 draft.
Players released or designated during the annual purge are usually fringe players or player past their prime. On occasion, a team designates an injured player because he’s arbitration eligible and they hope he’ll clear waivers so they can keep him.
The Atlanta Braves grabbed players like this during the rebuilding process, picking up Jacob Lindgren among others. This year a few players designated seemed out-of-place; good players with a solid record cut because of cost…yet while their cost equals pocket-change by baseball payroll standards.
A few of these players might add some of the depth the Braves lacked but the roster is full, and players would have to leave to make room for them. At least one of these players popped up in a rumor last year, so it’s worth looking at the good ones – or at least the ones I found it odd to see out of a job.
Notes on the whys and wherefores
MLB requires finalized rosters by midnight on November 20. This allows all teams to examine players not protected and decide who they want on their 25-man roster for the entire 2019 season.
Trades and signings continue as usual, but once teams set their roster, no Rule 5 eligible player can be added, even if a roster spot opens up because of a trade.
I doubt the Atlanta Braves draft anyone in the Major League portion of Rule 5. I expect them to draft heavily in the minor league portion to add depth, but that’s another post. I’ll post a Rule 5 procedures primer/refresher on Saturday.
Now let’s look at some interesting players. Most of at these players are out of options, that creates another issue but one that can wait until spring for resolution.