Looking ahead at the 40-man roster heading into 2023

The draft is done, the trade deadline has come and gone, and unless there’s a free agent that becomes available between now and the end of the season, the way the Royals 40-man roster looks now is likely to be very similar to the way it looks in November. With that being said, there are always guys who will need protecting from the Rule 5 Draft, there will be guys coming off of the 60-day IL, and there will be DFA candidates that make any offseason interesting before the trades and free agency ever begin. With that in mind, let’s take a quick inventory of the Royals 40-man roster, and then look at players eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this offseason.

Current 40-Man Roster

  1. Scott Barlow
  2. Jonathan Bowlan
  3. Jake Brentz
  4. Kris Bubic
  5. Max Castillo
  6. Taylor Clarke
  7. Dylan Coleman
  8. Jose Cuas
  9. Hunter Dozier
  10. Maikel Garcia
  11. Amir Garrett
  12. Zack Greinke
  13. Jonathan Heasley
  14. Carlos Hernandez
  15. Kyle Isbel
  16. Brad Keller
  17. Jackson Kowar
  18. Nicky Lopez
  19. Daniel Lynch
  20. Michael Massey
  21. MJ Melendez
  22. Wyatt Mills
  23. Anthony Misiewicz
  24. Adalberto Mondesi
  25. Ryan O’Hearn
  26. Edward Olivares
  27. Vinnie Pasquantino
  28. Joel Payamps
  29. Salvador Perez
  30. Nick Pratto
  31. Sebastian Rivero
  32. Brent Rooker
  33. Brady Singer
  34. Collin Snider
  35. Gabe Speier
  36. Josh Staumont
  37. Michael A. Taylor
  38. Drew Waters
  39. Luke Weaver
  40. Nathan Webb
  41. Ryan Weiss
  42. Bobby Witt Jr.
  43. Angel Zerpa
  44. Tyler Zuber

Zack Greinke is a free agent at the end of the season, so the Royals will only have three real decisions to make to get their 40-man roster down to 40 in November. Ryan Weiss, Ryan O’Hearn, Tyler Zuber, Joel Payamps, Brent Rooker Collin Snider, and even Kyle Isbel seem like they could be potential DFA candidates, so the initial decisions to get down to 40 shouldn’t be overly difficult. Here’s where the tough part will come…

Prospects That Are Rule 5 Draft Eligible

  • Samad Taylor
    • Part of the Whit Merrifield trade. You’d have to assume the Royals would protect him I think?
  • Brewer Hicklen
    • Lethal speed/power combo. Also an unsustainable amount of strikeouts. Unfortunately, the Royals will probably let someone else take a chance on him if I had to guess.
  • Nate Eaton
    • I would almost consider Eaton a lock to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason.
  • Clay Dungan
    • Probably not.
  • Drew Parrish
    • Super tough decision. Dominated AA. Struggling a bit in AAA. I’d protect him.
  • Josh Dye
    • Maybe? Though they left him off last year too and he hasn’t exactly dominated AAA…still a super intriguing arm.
  • Zach Willeman
    • The hand-selected return for Danny Duffy. Have to think he gets some consideration. All things considered, I’ll say no for now.
  • John Rave
    • I really like John Rave. The Royals like John Rave. Seems like there’s always a surprise addition or two. They added Drew Waters so…Rave may be a casualty of circumstance…but I’m not ruling it out. Kid can play.
  • Alec Marsh
    • Mortal lock. I know he’s struggled but they just sent him to the All-Star Future’s Game.
  • TJ Sikkema
    • Mortal lock. Return for Andrew Benintendi.
  • Anthony Veneziano
    • I’ll be more nervous than a who…never mind. If Veneziano isn’t protected someone should take him for their bullpen. Big lefty hit triple digits last season and is a pain for left-handed hitters.
  • Noah Murdock
    • Probably not.
  • Jonah Dipoto
    • Probably not.
  • Diego Hernandez
    • I’d say there’s a 95% chance one of Rave or Hernandez gets added. Because of his age and defensive ability, I’ll gamble early and say Hernandez is the surprise addition this offseason.
  • Kasey Kalich
    • Probably not, but not a definite “no” either.

That’s all of the one’s worth mentioning for this exercise, anyway. I know that list is 15 players long and generally those decisions get pretty easy, but this is not going to be such an easy offseason for the Royals front office. The pressure to win in 2023 is real, but you don’t want to sacrifice a big chunk of your future in the process. If you were asking me who I’d just want to protect in a vacuum, my choices would be:

  • Taylor
  • Eaton
  • Parrish
  • Marsh
  • Sikkema
  • Veneziano
  • Hernandez

It’s, perhaps obviously, almost certainly not going to work out this way. Only three of those players (Eaton, Marsh, Sikkema) are locks to be added. Taylor seems like a pretty strong candidate and I can’t imagine letting a guy like Veneziano be subject to the Rule 5 Draft, but it’s also very rare for five players to be protected. This could lead to a trade, but there’s also a chance there’s just a lot of roster turnover this offseason as well.

If you made me guess right now, I’d say the Royals make a trade none of us like this offseason. Maybe they can go get Pablo Lopez out of Miami. Lopez was the subject of plenty of trade rumors this year and he’ll be just 27 years old with two years of control left. He’s got a career 3.87 ERA in 448.2 big league innings and has been a stalwart in the Marlins rotation the past three seasons. Maybe Arizona finally makes Zac Gallen and his three years of control through 2025 available. He’s got a career 3.42 ERA in 382.2 big league innings and just turned 27 yesterday. Any move the Royals make is going to come at a hefty price. I wouldn’t be surprised to see any combination of Maikel Garcia, Alec Marsh, Asa Lacy, Anthony Veneziano, Drew Parrish, TJ Sikkema, Carter Jensen, or Nate Eaton available to land an arm like that. They’ve got some decisions to make regarding their roster construction and they desperately need a front of the rotation starter. We’ll see what winds up happening, because the free agent market is pretty intriguing too, but it’s going to be a huge offseason with the potential to be a lot of fun.

2 thoughts on “Looking ahead at the 40-man roster heading into 2023

  1. 1. Great write up.
    2. Brewer Hicklen has been doing very well the last few months. So has Robbie Glendinning & CJ Alexander. I sort of see us trying to safeguard Brewer and one of the 3rd Base prospects as we’ll likely elevate someone from AAA to play infield.
    I know Brewer has has issues striking out but it feels like progress is being made w/ Saylor. Glendinning has worked with Saylor since college so it feels like we’ll try to keep him somehow.
    3. It’s hard to feel like the Royals are focused on winning big in 2023 and also satisfied with pieces of the puzzle from this year. Especially if we end the year winning 1 out of every 3-4 games. Other teams that are in that “losing” category have better pitchers coming out of AAA and right now our bullpen feels like a bandaid more than a long term solution.

    Like

  2. This is always a fun exercise this time of the season. By my count there are 19 relief pitchers on this list of 44 players – Barlow, Brentz, Castillo, Clarke, Coleman, Cuas, Garrett, Hernandez, Kowar, Mills, Misiewicz, Payamps, Snider, Speier, Staumont, Weaver, Webb, Weiss, Zuber. The club can easily reduce this number down to 12 – 14 names. That plus removing O’Hearn should get the Royals to a number where they can add prospects like Sikkema, Marsh, Taylor, Veneziano, and a couple of others.

    I do believe the Royals missed a huge opportunity to make a big trade at the deadline to get a SP before they faced this roster crunch. Trading 5 prospects for a staff leader would make sense with the depth the roster had. Now it will be difficult to make a big trade before they have to cut players off the roster. They still need to do this as you mention at the end of the article. It will be interesting to hear about who might be available this offseason.

    Liked by 1 person

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