Following the first wave of September call-ups announced this morning, the Rays have recalled the recently demoted–and injured–Sean Rodriguez. The fall guy when Luke Scott returned, Rodriguez, was optioned to Triple-A earlier this month. He smashed a home run off the Durham Bull in his first game minor-league game, and continued smashing after the game, breaking his hand after striking a locker following an incident with a teammate. Rodriguez’s injury will not require surgery, however his return for the 2012 regular season is questionable.
We know the Rays do not do things just for the sake of doing things, so why activate Rodriguez only to immediately put him on the disabled list?
There main reason to add Rodriguez now is the playoff roster. In order to be eligible for the playoffs a player must be a member of the 25-man roster or on the major-league disabled list by August 31st. By adding Rodriguez and placing him on the DL, the Rays have made him eligible for the playoffs even if he does not return in the regular season.
Should Rodriguez’s injury keep him out for the entire season – regular and post – this move still has playoff implications. As mentioned above, players must be a member of the 25-man roster or on the major-league disabled list by August 31st to gain playoff eligiblity. That said, a player not on the active roster or the disabled list can be added after the August 31st deadline as a replacement for a player who was on the DL as of 8/31 and not returning.
The Rays have used this in the past adding players like David Price, Matt Moore, and Desmond Jennings to playoffs rosters despite being called up after September 1st. By adding Rodriguez to the disabled list today, the Rays opened up a potential roster spot for a player not currently with the club. With Brandon Guyer and Robinson Chirinos already on the DL and done for the season, the club now has three possible exemptions.
Another reason to add Rodriguez is options. Explained in the Luke Scott decision, the Rays will not lose an option year for Rodriguez because he did not spend 20 days in the minor leagues. Rodriguez is credited with major-league service time for the days he spent on Durham’s roster and the Rays keep the ability to option him in a future year.
Whether Rodriguez makes it back on the field this season or not, this move means he could still have an impact.