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Minor Happenings: Notes 11/5

November 5, 2007
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A couple quick notes:

First, some may have been wondering why Trevor Crowe is no longer playing in the Arizona Fall League and why Brad Snyder replaced him on the roster. Well, per an e-mail I got over the weekend from the Indians, it looks like Crowe was sent home in Tucson with a non-baseball medical condition. He may or may not return to fall ball.

Also, the roster deadline is November 20th. This is the date the Indians must finalize their 40-man roster selections and who to add from the eligible list from the minors to protect in the Rule 5 Draft.

Last, looking at the depth chart for next year, the Indians are bursting at the seams in the outfield and at first base with players who should be in Buffalo next year. You have Shin-Soo Choo who is out of options and Ben Francisco who is ready for a major league role, but there appears to be no room for him at this moment. Then, you have Ryan Goleski, Brian Barton, Trevor Crowe, and Brad Snyder all vying for time in Buffalo, and that doesn't include minor league free agents Jason Cooper and John Van Every who may be brought back. On top of that, you have three first baseman slotted for time in Buffalo in Jordan Brown, Michael Aubrey and Ryan Mulhern.

A few of these outfielders are all but certain to be traded, waived, or picked up in the Rule 5 Draft this offseason or by the end of spring training. With Choo, Francisco, Snyder, Goleski, Barton, Crowe fighting for potentially one spot in Cleveland and three spots in Buffalo, it sure looks like one or two of them are gone by the start of next season.

And, at first base, with Brown, Aubrey and Mulhern there, one surely could be gone. Mulhern and Brown can play the outfield, but for now they are still staying at first base. Brown is going nowhere, and is arguably the top hitting prospect in the system, and will be the regular first baseman in Buffalo. The question remains who between Mulhern and Aubrey is the DH and plays some time at 1B to give Brown a day off?

If Mulhern is not protected in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft (Dec 6th), he surely will be taken by another team. If Mulhern is added to the 40-man roster, it would seem that would mean Aubrey would be taken off and have to clear waivers (which he might).

It is going to be interesting to see how they handle the log jam in the outfield and first base in the upper levels of the system these next few weeks.

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