The Angels (and everyone else) made a number of small roster moves on Thursday. The Halos acquired outfielder Daniel Robertson from the Rangers, added catcher Jett Bandy and righty reliever Dan Reynolds to the 40-man roster, and DFA-ed lefty Michael Roth, catcher Jackson Williams, and outfielder Alfredo Marte.
The flurry of transactions were made ahead of the annual offseason 40-man roster lockdown, which “freezes” all 40-man rosters from midnight Thursday until after the Rule 5 Draft on December 11. This is far less ominous than it sounds. The only thing it affects is a team’s ability to add in-house players to the MLB roster. The Angels can trade, sign, and claim (*cough*Ike Davis*cough*) as many players as they want over the next three weeks, they just can’t promote any more players from within the organization no matter how many guys they might deal away.
This is where Jett Bandy and Dan Reynolds come into play. They were two of a number of Angels minor leaguers eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time this winter. By placing Bandy and Reynolds on the 40-man roster before Thursday’s deadline, the Halos have shielded them from selection. Not protected from the draft were prospects Kaleb Cowart, Austin Wood, and Daniel Hurtado, among others. It’s possible those three will be taken in the draft, but it seems highly unlikely given their poor performance, recent injury history, and inexperience at high levels, respectively.
Robertson, 29, was likely on track to be DFA-ed by Texas on Thursday to make room for prospects before the Halos swooped in and acquired him for a player to be named or cash. By grabbing him before he hit the waiver wire, the Angels guaranteed that another team couldn’t put a claim on him. Robertson’s calling cards are his speed and his discerning eye at the plate. The Oregon State alum has averaged about 20 stolen bases a year in the minors (at a 75% clip) and has walked almost as often as he’s struck out (312 vs 316) in over 3,100 plate appearances. Listed at 5’8 and 170 pounds, Robertson’s physical stature is that of a Collin Cowgill clone minus the 12-pack abs (probably).
Robertson was a career minor leaguer before the injury-plagued Rangers promoted him for a time in 2014, so it seems unlikely that he’ll get too much playing time with the Halos. Jerry Dipoto did say Robertson will be in the running for the 5th outfielder spot, though, and seeing as he plays all three outfield positions and his fiercest competition is noted outfielders Efren Navarro and Grant Green, he could end up being a familiar face.
Michael Roth, Jackson Williams, and Alfredo Marte have all been floating on the fringes of various 40-man rosters for several months, so their departures aren’t all that surprising. What would be surprising is if any of the three don’t make it through waivers: Roth already went unclaimed following his DFA in April, and Williams and Marte survived all the way to the Angels (read: the final team) on the waiver wire last month. I highly doubt anything’s changed in their outlooks between then and now.
The Angels’ roster remains full at 40, for now. If the team wants to participate in the Rule 5 Draft, they’ll have to drop at least one player from the roster between now and then. With a number of promising prospects left unprotected from the draft and the non-tender deadline (Dec 2) fast approaching, it’s probably safe to assume that one or two spots will open up before all is said and done.