J.P. Howell and The Playoff Roster | The Process Report

J.P. Howell and The Playoff Roster

By R.J. Anderson //

Last time we talked about the Rays’ next move as they guide towards the playoffs. Now let’s talk about a move that would directly affect the playoff roster that involves J.P. Howell. As everyone is aware, Howell is out for the season and on the 15-day disabled list. Eventually he’ll be moved to the 60-day disabled list What that means is the Rays could place him on the 25-man playoff roster come September 1, and then later replace him with another pitcher.

The rules for playoff eligibility state that the player must be on the team’s 25-man roster come September 1. Recall that David Price debuted September 14, 2008. How the Rays got him onto the playoff roster is by placing Jae Kuk Ryu (then on the 60-day disabled list and out for the season with elbow surgery) on the active roster right before midnight. They also promoted Fernando Perez, who would join the playoff roster too. Price would eventually replace Ryu, bringing up the only real catch in the whole mess: pitchers can only be replaced by pitchers and position players by position players.

What that means is that the Rays could sneak another pitcher from their 40-man onto the playoff roster without having him present at 11:59 PM the night of August 31. Who will that pitcher be? Probably Jeremy Hellickson if the past is any indication. As previously mentioned, Price debuted on 9/14/2008. Last year, Wade Davis debuted 9/6/2009. Hellickson’s last time out was a three-inning stint with the official word being that the Rays wanted to limit his workload. He figures to fill a relief role with the big league club in September, meaning over the next four weeks the Rays can take their foot off the pedal with him; thus limiting workload and familiarizing him to the bullpen experience. After those four weeks, a promotion to the majors would occur with fewer innings accumulated and the ability to be trusted out of the pen.

The Rays could also use the spot on someone like Alexander Torres or Jacob McGee – both on the 40-man roster and both would fill the left-handed role vacated by Howell – with a wild card waiting in the wings like Matt Bush. The possibilities are endless. Howell’s injury itself wasn’t a blessing, but the team’s strength could make it an exploitable reality.

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