By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Considering the push for teams to acquire players off the waiver wire or scrap heap (hey, Papelbon!) on or before Aug. 31 in order for them to be eligible for the postseason roster, some confusion has arisen regarding the playoff eligibility of September call-ups. In the case of the Boston Red Sox, that involves one young man by the name of Yoan Moncada, who will make his MLB debut on Friday night.
Fortunately, Dave Cameron from Fangraphs appeared through the fog to help provide some clarity.
Cameron politely named his article “Yoan Moncada Is Already Eligible for the Playoffs,” which served as a pretty big spoiler alert but did a pretty good job of conveying the message.
Nevertheless, he went ahead and explained why Moncada is indeed eligible for the postseason. It comes down to this: injured players on the 40-man roster can be replaced by anyone in the organization. Even though Moncada was not on the 40-man prior to this week’s call-up, he was indeed a member of the organization.
So, technically, when the regular season ends, he can make the playoff roster as an “injury replacement” for someone like Pablo Sandoval or Carson Smith, both of whom suffered season-ending injuries early on in the year.
Cameron went so far as to call the Aug. 31 deadline a “myth.”
“As long as [players are] signed to a contract and in the organization today, they’re good,” he wrote. “A team could even trade for a minor league [player] not on the 40-man [on Aug. 31], and as long as his contract is assigned to them before the end of the day, he’ll be eligible to play in the postseason, even if he hasn’t actually played a game for the organization yet.”
It figures to be a factor, even though Moncada has yet to step on a major league diamond. Between Single-A Salem and Double-A Portland this year, the 21-year-old has batted .294 with 15 home runs, 31 doubles and six triples for a .918 OPS. He’s also stolen 45 bases on 57 attempts. The Red Sox have gotten little production out of third base for much of the year (Travis Shaw has a .746 OPS), and Moncada figures to be at least a possibility to be a shot in the arm to a big league club in need of a little boost.
And, thanks to Dave Cameron, a man who can read the rulebook quite well, we know for certain that the help can continue into October if the Red Sox make it there.