The Royals have announced that they have added minor leaguers Christian Colon, Cheslor Cuthbert, Lane Adams, and Michael Mariot to their 40-man roster prior to tonight’s deadline. To make room for those players, Noel Arguelles and Irving Falu were designated for assignment, while Felipe Paulino opted for free agency.
Colon was the team’s first-round draft pick in 2010, and has failed to meet expectations to this point, posting a .713 OPS through his first 4 professional seasons. However, Colon is expected to be in competition for the second base position in spring training, and needed to be added to the roster to protect him from being selected in December’s Rule 5 Draft.
Cuthbert has been ranked among the Royals’ top prospects for a few years now, and the organization must have felt that his upside could have been enough to entice another team into stashing him on their roster for all of next season. Cuthbert struggled in Northwest Arkansas last season, but the 21 year old third baseman still has time to develop, and now the Royals can make sure their asset is protected.
Adams doesn’t have the prospect hype Colon and Cuthbert have, but he does bring some qualities to the table that teams may have found attractive in a Rule 5 selection. He can play all three outfield positions fairly well, and has enough speed to be used as a bench player in 2014. Adams will likely start the year in Omaha and be ready should the Kansas City outfield need reinforcements.
Mariot had a very strong season for Omaha in 2013, striking out over a batter per inning. Relief pitchers are always hot commodities in the Rule 5 Draft, since they are easier to hide on a roster for an entire season, so the Royals didn’t want to risk losing any of their impressive bullpen depth.
Even though Arguelles and Falu were both designated for assignment, they won’t necessarily be leaving the organization. I’m guessing Falu will find a spot with a team somewhere, since he offers great defensive versatility, and the ability to do many things adequately while not being outstanding at anything. If he isn’t claimed and wants to remain a part of the Royals’ organization, Falu may end up back in Omaha in 2014. Arguelles is still owed $1.7 million, so it’s unlikely any team takes a chance on the disappointing Cuban left-hander. Should Arguelles clear waivers, he could be pitching in Northwest Arkansas again next season.
Players who weren’t added to the roster – like Brian Fletcher, Brett Eibner, and Buddy Baumann – will find out on December 12th at the Winter Meetings if they will still be Royals’ farmhands, or if they will get to become major leaguers for 2014.