Creative Teams Can Use Trade Deadline To Answer 40-Man Questions

Image credit: Brennen Davis (Photo by Danny Parker/Four Seam Images)

When the Yankees and Royals agreed on a trade to send Andrew Benintendi to New York, three things were accomplished. The first two are obvious: The Yankees bolstered their big league roster and the Royals replenished their farm system. 

The third benefit to the trade was the slight alleviation of a coming 40-man roster crunch for New York. One of the pitchers sent to Kansas City was lefthander T.J. Sikkema, a supplemental first-rounder in 2019 who needs to be protected on the 40-man roster in order to shield him from selection in the upcoming Rule 5 draft. 

Currently, the Yankees’ 40-man roster is full. It also contains nine of the team’s Top 30 prospects, including big names like shortstop Oswald Peraza, righthander Luis Medina and outfielder Everson Pereira

The next wave of prospects who will need protection includes some of the system’s top pitching prospects, like lefthander Ken Waldichuk and righthanders Hayden Wesneski and Jhony Brito—all of whom are at Triple-A—and lower-level talents like Low-A batterymates Juan Carela and Antonio Gomez.

That’s a lot of players for a finite amount of roster. Dealing Sikkema removed one potential decision from the plate of the Yankees’ brass. Over the next few days before the trade deadline and months before the 40-man rosters are set, plenty more choices will need to be made. 

That’s why it can be advantageous for teams to include prospects either currently on the 40-man roster or who will soon need a spot on the roster in any deals. It clears space for later while turning prospects who might otherwise be left unprotected into value for the big league roster. 

The Yankees turned the same trick last year, too, when they sent infielders Diego Castillo and Hoy Park to Pittsburgh for reliever Clay Holmes. Park and Castillo needed roster spots but were further down the pecking order than other prospects. Instead of losing them in the Rule 5 draft, they turned them into a reliever who is not only under control until 2025, but who also has become one of the league’s most dominant late-inning arms. 

Three years ago, near the winter deadline for setting rosters before the Rule 5 draft, the Rays pulled a similar coup when they dealt reliever Cristopher Sanchez to the Phillies to create a spot on their 40-man. In return, Tampa Bay received infielder Curtis Mead, a little-known player at the time who has since hit his way into becoming one of the game’s best prospects. 

The team facing the most dire roster crunch this winter is Cleveland, which added a host of talented prospects to its 40-man roster last season in order to protect them from selection in the Rule 5, which was ultimately canceled as a casualty of the lockout. 

Because Cleveland’s system is so flush with talented, upper-level prospects, there is a sizable group waiting in the wings, too. Eight more members of the team’s Top 30 need Rule 5 protection this coming offseason, including catcher Bo Naylor, infielders Gabriel Rodriguez and Angel Martinez, emergent outfielder Will Brennan and pitchers Hunter Gaddis, Joey Cantillo, Xzavion Curry and Ethan Hankins

And that doesn’t include outfielders Will Benson and Micah Pries, pitchers Trey Benton, Lenny Torres and infielder Dayan Frias

Overall, that’s 21 total prospects who either currently occupy space on Cleveland’s 40-man roster or will need to be protected this offseason. 

Cleveland’s predicament is the starkest example, but there are plenty of clubs facing similar prospect pile-ups that need to be alleviated in the coming months. Keep that in mind when considering teams’ moves in the coming days and then after the season before 40-man rosters have to be set in advance of the Rule 5 draft.  

Below is a list of some of the prospects from each of the 30 clubs in need of 40-man roster protection this coming winter.


Levi Kelly

Blaze Alexander

Drey Jameson

Ryne Nelson

Tommy Henry

Dominic Fletcher

Tristin English

Yaifer Perdomo

J.J. D’Orazio


Victor Vodnik

Braden Shewmake

Beau Philip

Darius Vines


Grayson Rodriguez

Drew Rom

Kyle Stowers

Zach Watson

Joey Ortiz

Dan Hammer


Triston Casas

Nick Northcutt

Chris Murphy

Brendan Cellucci

Joe Davis

Noah Song

Brandon Walter

Wilkelman Gonzalez

Eddinson Paulino

Brainer Bonaci


Brennen Davis

Cole Roederer

Ezequiel Pagan

Kohl Franklin

Ryan Jensen

Chase Strumpf

Michael McAvene

Chris Clarke

Hunter Bigge

Richard Gallardo

Rafael Morel

Yohendrick Pinango


Caleb Freeman

Chase Solesky

Bryan Ramos

Luis Mieses

Johan Dominguez


Elly De La Cruz


Peyton Battenfield

Will Benson

Joey Cantillo

Bo Naylor

Ethan Hankins

Lenny Torres

Hunter Gaddis

Xzavion Curry

Will Brennan

Micah Pries

Trey Benton

Gabriel Rodriguez

Angel Martinez

Dayan Frias


Grant Lavigne

Michael Toglia

Aaron Schunk

Brenton Doyle

Karl Kauffmann

Will Ethridge

Warming Bernabel


Parker Meadows

Andre Lipcius

Ryan Kreidler

Bryant Packard

Kerry Carpenter

Jose De La Cruz

Adinso Reyes


Hunter Brown

Matthew Barefoot

J.C. Correa

Wilyer Abreu


Alec Marsh

Noah Murdock

Drew Parrish

T.J. Sikkema


Jordyn Adams

Jeremiah Jackson


Kody Hoese

Michael Busch

Jonny DeLuca

Diego Cartaya


Will Banfield

JJ Bleday

Peyton Burdick

Bryan Hoeing

Andrew Nardi

Jeff Lindgren

Josh Simpson

Cristhian Rodriguez

George Soriano


Brice Turang

Joe Gray

Antoine Kelly

Nick Bennett

Abner Uribe

Jose Sibrian


Matt Wallner

Matt Canterino

Spencer Steer

Sawyer Gipson-Long

Louie Varland

Edouard Julien

Misael Urbina


Jaylen Palmer

Jake Mangum

Francisco Alvarez

Stanley Consuegra

Brett Baty


Anthony Seigler

Ken Waldichuk

Hayden Wesneski

Zach Greene

Edgar Barclay

Antonio Gomez

Juan Carela

Agustin Ramirez

Jhony Brito


Lawrence Butler

Logan Davidson

Seth Shuman

Brayan Buelvas

Euribiel Angeles


Erik Miller

Logan O’Hoppe

Johan Rojas

Kendall Simmons

Starlyn Castillo

Andrick Nava

Ben Brown


Michael Burrows

Braxton Ashcraft

Matt Gorski

Jared Triolo

Matt Fraizer

Blake Sabol

Andres Alvarez

Abrahan Gutierrez


Jairo Iriarte

Noel Vela

Tirso Ornelas

Matt Waldron

Nerwillian Cedeño

Brandon Valenzuela


Hunter Bishop

Chris Wright

Carter Aldrete

Cole Waites

Marco Luciano

Jairo Pomares

Luis Matos

Ricardo Genoves


Levi Stoudt

Isaiah Campbell

Noelvi Marte

Jonatan Clase

Prelander Berroa


Malcom Nunez

Inohan Paniagua

Connor Thomas

Dionys Rodriguez


Greg Jones

Seth Johnson

Colby White

Jayden Murray

Ford Proctor

Grant Witherspoon

Taj Bradley

Josh Roberson

Diego Infante

Miles Mastrobuoni


Cole Winn

Owen White

Jonathan Ornelas

Josh Jung

Cody Bradford

Zak Kent

Blaine Crim

Luisangel Acuña

Cole Ragans


Spencer Horwitz

Jordan Groshans

Adam Kloffenstein

Addison Barger

Orelvis Martinez


Mason Denaburg

Jake Irvin

Jeremy De La Rosa

Omar Meregildo

Jose Ferrer

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