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Week in Transactions: Coco Crisp and the September callups

In which the Indians prepared their roster for September changes, and for a potential playoff run

Miami Marlins v Cleveland Indians
Coco Crisp
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Latest 40-man Roster

Embiggened version
Google Docs version
40-man roster, Sept 5 2016

As of September 1, the 25-man roster doesn’t exist, so there is no need to use player options or to place a player on the 15-day Disabled List. The 60-day Disabled List does still exist as a mechanism to add to a player to the 40-man roster.

I’ve added the “Ineligible for postseason” modifier to help clarify whether a player on the 40-man roster would be able to play in potential postseason series. There are two rules for postseason eligibility, and there is an example on the current roster for each:

  1. Not on 40-man roster as of August 31. This mean the Indians’ 40-man roster. There is an additional distinction, however, that needs to be made. Players who were in other organizations as of August 31 cannot play for the Indians in a potential postseason series. However, players who were in the Indians’ organization (as in any player on a minor-league roster) can play in the postseason if they are a replacement for an injured player. So Adam Moore, who wasn’t on the 40-man roster but was on Columbus’ roster as of August 31, could replace an injured player if the need arises. As of today, the Indians have two potential spots because of injured players: Michael Brantley (for sure), and Yan Gomes (if he can’t return to action before the end of the season).
  2. Players who were suspended for PEDs during the 2016 season. This is a cut-and-dry rule, with no exceptions. If the Indians have to play a tiebreaker game (for example, if the Indians and Tigers are tied after Game 162), that game is considered part of the regular season and so Almonte would be eligible to play.

So there are 38 players on the 40-man roster who are currently eligible to play in the postseason, and an additional player (Moore) who could play if used as a substitute for Michael Brantley or Yan Gomes. And yes, if you’re holding out hope to see Greg Allen make the postseason roster, he could also be used as an injury substitute; any player in the organization as of August 31 is eligible to be used as a substitute.

If Yan Gomes does get through his rehab assignment, the Indians will need to make room on the 40-man roster to activate him from the 60-day Disabled List. TJ House and Austin Adams would seem to me to be the players most in danger now that Collin Cowgill is off the roster.

MLB Transactions

August 31

Traded LHP Colt Hynes to the Oakland Athletics for OF Coco Crisp

Optioned RHP Shawn Armstrong to Lake County (A-)

Transferred C Yan Gomes to the 60-day Disabled List (shoulder)

Purchased the contract of RHP Perci Garner and recalled him

Even though Crisp didn’t appear in a game until September 2, the fact that the Indians traded for him on August 31 is enough to make him eligible for the postseason. The Indians didn’t give up anything of consequence (Hynes is eligible for minor-league free agency if he isn’t added to Oakland’s 40-man roster by the end of the season - and I doubt they will), so it was a nice gesture by the A’s to allow Crisp to play on a contender.

The Indians thought enough of Garner to add him to the 40-man roster in time to be eligible for the postseason, and early returns have backed that up. And the Indians were able to add Garner to the 25-man and 40-man rosters without any painful moves. The reason Armstrong was sent to Lake County and not Columbus is that Lake County’s season ended yesterday, so he’ll be able to return to the Indians today, bypassing the usual 10 day duration until a player can be recalled. Columbus, Akron, and Lynchburg had all made the playoffs, so if Armstrong had been optioned to any one of them, he couldn’t have returned. Gomes’ DL stint is retroactive to July 18, meaning that he can return on September 18/19 (not sure how the cutoff works), and he was going to need the full rehab allowance anyway.

September 1

Activated OF Coco Crisp

Activated RHP Danny Salazar from the Paternity List

Purchased the contract of C Adam Moore and recalled him

Designated OF Collin Cowgill for Assignment

Recalled RHP Joseph Colon, IF Erik Gonzalez, and RHP Cody Anderson from Columbus (AAA)

Teams usually recall a third catcher anyway in September, but the Indians had a particular use in mind for Moore. Because both regular catchers are pinch-hit for in late-game situations, having a third catcher will allow Terry Francona to pinch-hit for both Perez and Gimenez in a single game. Moore is not eligible for the postseason, but with Yan Gomes slated to return, that’s no big deal.

To make room for Moore on the 40-man roster, the Indians designated Collin Cowgill, who briefly played for the Indians early this season. He did late clear waivers, so he will be able to help Columbus in its postseason.

September 2

Sent C Yan Gomes on rehab assignment to Akron (AA)

Outrighted OF Collin Cowgill to Columbus (AAA)

September 5

Recalled LHP Kyle Crockett from Columbus (AAA)

After the Indians recall Shawn Armstrong, they’ll have a 12-man bullpen, and could have even more by the time Columbus’ season ends. The sheer number of arms is what allowed Francona to go with a “bullpen game” on Monday.

Minor-League Transactions

September 1

AAA: Activated LHP Tyler Olson from the Disabled List

Promoted IF Todd Hankins, C Jeremy Lucas, and LHP Nick Maronde from Akron (AA) to Columbus (AAA)

Promoted LHP David Speer, RHP Jordan Milbrath, C Alex Monsalve, and 2B Matt Mathias from Lynchburg (A+) to Akron (AA)

Promoted RHP Leandro Linares and SS Willi Castro from Lake County (A-) to Lynchburg (A+)

Promoted LHP Ben Krauth and 2B Erlin Cerda from Mahoning Valley (SSA) to Lake County (A-)

Promoted C Simeon Lucas, RHP Dalbert Siri, RHP Domingo Jimenez, OF Oscar Gonzalez, and 3B Miguel Eladio from AZL Indians (R-) to Mahoning Valley (SSA)

Demoted RHP Dace Kime from Mahoning Valley (SSA) to AZL Indians (R-)

A+: Activated 3B Claudio Bautista from the Disabled List

The chain reactions came as a result of the Indians calling up Moore (catcher), Gonzalez (infielder), Colon (reliever), and Anderson (starter). The needs of the major-league club come first (especially when the major-league club is a playoff contender), but that doesn’t mean that the minor-league teams should be obliterated Cleveland Spiders-style; the Indians still want to maintain good relations with their affiliates, who have the ability to jump ship if they feel they are being jerked around.

September 2

IF Ordomar Valdez promoted from Lake County (A-) to Columbus (AAA)

Promoted C Juan de la Cruz from Mahoning Valley (SSA) to Lake County (A-)

September 3

Demoted IF Ronny Rodriguez from Columbus (AAA) to AZL Indians (R-)

September 5

Demoted RHP Nick Pasquale from Columbus (AAA) to AZL Indians (R-)

Promoted RHP Argenis Angulo from Lake County (A-) to Akron (AA)