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November 19, 2010 at 4:42 PM

Josh Lueke, Tom Wilhelmsen, eight others added to Mariners 40-man roster ahead of Rule 5 draft

Today was the deadline for teams to solidify their 40-man rosters ahead of the upcoming winter meetings and Rule 5 draft. If you don’t want to risk losing a player to another team, it was time to get the names on the roster.
Some of the more interesting names added by the Mariners have been byproducts of recent trades and signings.
Josh Lueke was one of the bigger names, acquired last summer in the Cliff Lee trade. Tom Wilhelmsen, seen in the photo above, a revival project from last spring — who hadn’t pitched pro ball in six years — was another.
“Tom obviously did some very positive things this year,” Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said in a conference call. “His history is interesting. I think you have to give him an awful lot of credit for what he’s accomplished in a short period of time. He’s a big kid with a terrific arm. And again, the nice thing is, he’s put on the roster and maybe he’ll have a chance to pitch for us this year. If not, certainly in the near future. But we value his talent enough to put him on the 40-man roster.”
Here are the remaining eight: Johermyn Chavez, RHP Maikel Cleto, LHP Cesar Jimenez, INF Alex Liddi, RHP Yoervis Medina, OF Carlos Peguero, RHP Michael Pineda, and LHP Mauricio Robles.
One thing to keep in mind is that inclusion on this list does not mean the team is automatically going to move forward with a player. We had a lot of discussion today about a possible Justin Upton trade and some of the players you see on this list could form part of a package offer in such a deal, or any other winter move.
But the one thing the team would not want to do with any potential trade pieces is risk losing them for nothing on a Rule 5 claim. In other cases, players on this list could very well have futures in Seattle.

When you draft a player, he has four years of time before he has to be protected. For international signings it’s five years.
Carlos Triunfel does not have to be on the list yet, nor does Josh Fields.
One of the bigger names left unprotected? Lefty pitcher Nick Hill. He was an up-and-comer in the organization a couple of years ago. Now, he’s wide open for plucking by another team.
“Like anyone, you have to make decisions,” Zduriencik said. “We put our roster together and there’s a whittling down effect. And at the end, there’s always going to be one player or two players in every organization that could possibly be the cutoff point. I’m not saying that he (Hill) was because there are other players that were’t put on here. But if you had a 43-man roster, you’d have other additions on here. So, as of right now, this is my list.”
One of the surprises on the list? Cesar Jimenez, a lefty pitching prospect who’s spent most of the past two years rehabbing from arm issues. Jimenez was actually up with the Mariners a handful of times in 2006 and 2008.
“He’s pitching very well in winter ball, our medical reports were really good on him,” Zduriencik said. “We had to do our homework there, certainly. And he’s a great kid. We had high expectations of him, certainly two years ago when I got here. I’ve always liked him personally. Unfortunately, he’s had his issues that have set him back a little bit. The reports are that he’s throwing so well in winter ball…he’s lefthanded and he’s been here before.”
And if he keeps it up, Jimenez could possibly compete for a job with the team this year. We’ll see.



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