One of the more unexpected roster moves made last week was the Oakland A's decision to add right-hander Michael Ynoa to their 40-man roster, thus protecting him from the Rule V draft. Ynoa was one of four players protected by the A's, a group that included second baseman/utility-man Grant Green, according to Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle.
The team made a $4.25 million investment in Ynoa to sign him out of the Dominican Republic in 2008. In the four years since, Ynoa, now 21-years-old, has thrown a grand total of 39 2/3 innings, none above short-season ball.
From all accounts, the abilities that got Ynoa signed in the first place are still there, despite having Tommy John surgery in 2010. And he did throw more innings this past season (30 2/3) than ever before in his professional career. It's understandable that the A's, now finally seeing a potential for return on their significant investment, didn't want to leave Ynoa unprotected and risk losing him.
But is there really any shot of Ynoa getting selected in the Rule V draft and sticking in the majors the entire season?
It's hard to fathom a scenario in which that's the case.
Even if a team were to take a chance on Ynoa, it's more than likely they'd have to give hm back at some point during the season. Perhaps the A's didn't want to even take the chance of having him under another team's tutelage for a few months, even though their own progress with him hasn't been very rewarding. But Ynoa would likely be worthless in the major leagues this season, making him a wasted spot on a major league roster that would have to cope with either an 11-man pitching staff or a short bench.
I don't see either being the case.
Regardless, the A's chose to protect Ynoa, mostly to protect themselves from the embarrassment of losing everything from one of their biggest investments in years, ultimately compounding their first mistake by doubling-down on an injury-plagued prospect. Ynoa could easily still blossom into a major league star, but it's not going to be this year, and it wasn't worth a 40-man roster spot to see if it happens.