Friday, February 3, 2012

The pitching options

Anthony Swarzak
did well as a swingman
in 2011, plus he's out
of options.
(Revised with more accurate information)

Teams have 40-man rosters, from which they devise their 25-man active rosters during the season. The 15 athletes not on the active roster are either on the disabled list or "optioned" to the minors. A player can only be optioned out in three different seasons, so a player's option status is often a significant consideration.

There is, so far as I know, no authoritative Internet site that tells how many options a player has. With so many pitchers scheduled for the Twins spring training camp, and so many of them new to the organization, ascertaining option status is a rather difficult task, yet essential to understanding the dynamics of the competition for spots on the 25-man roster.

The Twins have 15 pre-arbitration pitchers on their 40-man roster. The other eight make enough that the Twins aren't going to option any of them out this spring; Nick Blackburn either opens the season on the 25-man roster or on the disabled list, but he's not going to be pitching for Rochester in April. So for this exercise, I'm ignoring the projected rotation (Carl Pavano, Scott Baker, Blackburn, Francisco Liriano and Jason Marquis) and the three veterans (Matt Capps, Glen Perkins and Joel Zumaya) in the bullpen.

Here, as best I can figure, are the option statuses of the 15, with occasional comment:

Alex Burnett: One option left. (The Twins essentially wasted an option on him last year; he was among the first pitchers sent out in spring training, but he was recalled about a week into the season and remained on the active roster the rest of the way.)

Scott Diamond: Two options left.

Terry Doyle: Three options left, but that's immaterial at this point. He's a Rule V draftee, which means the Twins have to keep him on the 25-man roster or return him to the White Sox. Diamond was in the same position last year, but the Twins traded for his rights at the end of camp.

Brian Duensing: At least one option left. I'm not certain of when he was added to the 40-man roster, and it's possible that he has two options left. The Twins aren't real likely to use one in any case.

Carlos Gutierrez has all
three options left,
so it's easier for the
Twins to send him to
the minors.
Jeff Gray: One option left. I think.  No options remaining.

Deolis Guerra: One option left.

Carlos Gutierrez: Added to the 40 this winter, all three options left.

Liam Hendriks: Added to the 40 and 25 rosters late in the season, hasn't been sent down since. All three options left.

Matt Maloney: Pretty sure he's out of options. I don't know it for a fact, but he's been up and down for three years, so unless one of those seasons involved injury rehabs and not an actual option, he's use or lose.  Out of options

Jeff Manship: Again, I'm not sure exactly when he was added to the 40. He might be out of options, he might have one left.

Lester Oliveros: Fairly sure he has two left.

Tyler Robertson: Like Gutierrez, all three options left.

Anthony Swarzak: Out of options.

Esmerling Vasquez: He's been up and down with the Diamondbacks the past three seasons, so he may be out of options. His 2010 minor league stint was just one game, which might have been a rehab stint, but there's no gap in his major league time corresponding to a DL stint.

Kyle Waldrop: Like Hendriks, added to the roster late and not sent down. Three options left.

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