The final month of the season is always interesting, even for teams that are entirely out of the playoff picture, because the rosters expand beyond the 25-man ones which have been in operation since Opening Day. Basically, it means than any player on the 40-man roster can now be used by the team. Not all of them will be - the 40-man still includes players on the 15-day disabled list, like Miguel Montero and J.J. Putz. But the others include players who have appeared with the team at some point this season, as well as those added to the 40-man roster before the year began, to protect them from being selected in the Rule 5 draft.
We should note that there are a couple of significant players who are not on the 40-man roster at this point, and so aren't eligible, at this point, to be called up: Archie Bradley and David Holmberg. They haven't accumulated enough service time to be eligible as Rule 5 picks, so they didn't need the protection of a 40-man spot. Not to say they won't be added: we can clear room by transferring players from the 15-day DL to the 60-day version, which takes them off the 40-man roster. Matt Reynolds, who hasn't played since June 9, would be a possible candidate, and Cody Ross is another. However, for now, let's limit ourselves to the 15 men currently present, and see what they offer.
A good chunk of the roster expansion could simply be players coming back off the disabled list. While we have a fairly-full slate of walking wounded (Daniel Hudson is on the 60-day DL and doesn't count), a number of them are making headway, and could be ready to rejoin the team by a week tomorrow.
- Willie Bloomquist. Could join Reno for their stand down in Tucson at the beginning of next week. "I understand that they probably want me to play a little bit and make sure and get some at-bats," he said.
- Eric Chavez (knee + hip). This could be a case where the team re-activates Chavez early, with Matt Davidson being the most likely loser. At the time, Kirk Gibson said, "We'll plan on 15 days and hope that's all it takes," and that could be as soon as tomorrow.
- Miguel Montero (back). He's now catching games again, and seems to feel he could have been sent out on a rehab assigment close to two weeks ago. The fact the club is taking its time, could be an indication they're holding off for the September slots.
- J.J. Putz (dislocated finger). Only placed on the DL today, so won't be eligible to return until the second week of September, at the earliest. Whether it takes that long is hard to say, but I doubt the team will rush him.
- Matt Reynolds (elbow). It was reported earlier in the week that Reynolds is finally doing long-toss, but has yet to throw from the hill. There's still a possibility he could return this season, if he can get his arm strength back, but it's by no means certain.
- Cody Ross (hip). Definitely won't be back this year - might not even be back by Opening Day - and if we want to bring up one of the hot-shots like Bradley, moving him to the 60-day DL would be the obvious move.
Those we have seen
These are the players who have appeared for the team at some point, but are not currently part of the 25-man roster, having been optioned down to Reno. There's generally a tradition that minor-league teams get to retain their players if they make their league's playoffs, but that won't be an issue for the Aces: at 54-80, they are twenty games out in the Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern, and will not be troubling the post-season. Their season will therefore finish on September 2.
- Charles Brewer. Thrown more innings for Reno this year than anyone else (126.2), plus six for the D-backs, though his 5.12 ERA doesn't stand out. Could be called up to provide additional long relief beside Josh Collmenter.
- David Hernandez. Since being sent down, Hernandez had thrown 5.2 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits. However, his K:BB ratio of 5:4 is remains a bit concerning. He'll probably be back up for some low-leverage work.
- Alfredo Marte. Remember when Marte was a "thing", courtesy of the slew of outfield injuries early on? He's now continuing to not hit much in Reno, with a .740 OPS, which site him between Tuffy Gosewisch and Tony Campana.
- Joe Paterson. I can only imagine Paterson sobbing gently as Eury de la Rosa walked the Phillies off last night. Paterson has a 2.05 ERA in Reno, and held opposing lefties to a .163 average this year. Still issues with RHB (.313 BA), but hard to argue he's worse than DLR, overall.
- Tony Sipp. On the other hand, Sipp'n has been also been fairly easy since his demotion, with eight scoreless innings, and only two hits allowed. Has seen more righties, who are 0-for-14 with two walks against Sipp.
- Tyler Skaggs. Up and down, with two quality starts and one disaster, as well as a one-inning stint in a rain-shortened contest). Put it all together and it's a 5.09 ERA with a K:BB ratio of 13:8, which isn't exactly forcing his way into the rotation.
- Zeke Spruill. He may not have set the world on fire in the majors, but a 2.72 ERA in the minors, between Mobile and Reno, shows he hasn't been bad. Even a 3.20 at Reno is the best among those with 50 IP or more. He'll be back in 2014.
I was struck to realize that, with more than a month left, we have used everyone on the 40-man roster with the exception of two players. However, the 41 total men to pull on a Diamondbacks jersey (the others being Eric Hinske, Ian Kennedy and Josh Wilson) is actually seven fewer than in total last season. The remaining two seem unlikely to see any big-league action in September. Still, for completeness:
- Chase Anderson. Surprised to see he has spent the whole year in AAA, operating as a "stuntman" both in the rotation and bullpen. His 5.60 ERA isn't good, even for Reno, and our pitching depth isn't his friend either.
- Keon Broxton. Not sure why we protected him, as he has done little there to justify it with Double-A Mobile, hitting .222, with a .632 OPS. He did only turn 23 in May, so is still a little young (team average age is 24.7), but seems a disappointing season.