Looking ahead to September call-ups


Coke was a September call-up that won himself a job for the following year. (AP)

It’s kinda hard to believe that it’s already the last full week of August, but it is and the season is nearly at its end. September is right around the corner, meaning expanded rosters and non-stop talk about how the final month of the season is played with different rules than the first five. I really don’t have a problem with it, it gives non-contenders a chance to see what they have in the farm system and contenders more help for the stretch drive. As long as every team can do it, it’s fair in by book.

Based on what we’ve seen the last few years, the Yankees’ first wave of call-ups (the guys that come up right on the first) will be the bare essentials. Last year the Yanks recalled a pitcher (Jon Albaladejo), an outfielder (Greg Golson), and a catcher (Chad Moeller) on the 1st, though they also welcomed Lance Berkman back from the disabled list. Two years ago they summoned three arms (Mark Melancon, Mike Dunn, Edwar Ramirez), an infielder (Ramiro Pena), and a catcher (Frankie Cervelli). More pieces came later in the month, but that was it on the first day rosters expanded.

The guys that come up on September 1st are likely to be the guys we’ve seen already this season, meaning Lance Pendleton and Chris Dickerson. Brian Cashman‘s recent comments indicate that Raul Valdes and Aaron Laffey will also be called up, so that’s three arms right there. The fourth will be Hector Noesi, who I assume will go down for Freddy Garcia prior to Saturday’s doubleheader with the Orioles. Ramiro Pena may or may not be ready to return from his appendectomy, but if he’s not, then Brandon Laird is your extra infielder. Barring some funny business with the recently DFA’ed Gus Molina, Jesus Montero will be up as the third catcher as well. I’m guessing Justin Maxwell will be the 40-man roster casualty to accommodate Montero.

Triple-A Scranton is pretty much out of the playoff race barring a miracle comeback, and their season ends on September 5th. No postseason means more call-ups within the first week of the month, so expect to see Kevin Whelan and Greg Golson return. Steve Garrison is another possibility if Double-A Trenton fails to make the playoffs (which is very possible), though I think four lefties might be overkill. The wildcard is Andrew Brackman. He’s been awful this year but did get a call-up last year even though he didn’t pitch. I wouldn’t be surprised either way. Pena is going to return at some point, so all told that’s two infielders, two outfielders, a third catcher, and a bunch of arms. All except Montero are already on 40-man roster, so the moves are a piece of cake. The non-40-man guys are much more interesting though.

The most notable one (to me) is George Kontos, who’s having huge, strikeout heavy year in Triple-A, his first as a full-time reliever. Yeah, he’s made some spot starts and is pretty stretched out (good for 50-60 pitches or so at the moment), but then again all Triple-A arms are. Kontos will need to be added to the 40-man after the season to avoid exposure to the Rule 5 Draft, and he’s a definite add at this point. The Yankees got a little lucky when the Padres returned him last year, but I doubt they’ll roll the dice again. I have no idea what the 40-man roster move would be (Garrison? maybe even Pants Lendleton?), but I say give the kid a promotion and an inning or two next month, just to see what’s up.

The other Rule 5 guys are Austin Romine, David Phelps, and D.J. Mitchell, all of whom are locks to be added to the 40-man after the season. I don’t think any will be called up in September though, just because there aren’t that many innings to go around and those guys are better off heading to Instructional League. Plus the 40-man roster crunch will be very tight if Maxwell and Garrison are cut lose. Phelps is a prime candidate for the Arizona Fall League after his shoulder problem as well. Although they’re throwing bullpens down in Tampa, I would be stunned if either Damaso Marte or Pedro Feliciano returned next month.

So all told, I see 10-11 players being added to the roster at various points next month. The first wave of guys figures to be Laffey, Valdes, Pendleton, Montero, Laird, and Dickerson. Once the Triple-A season wraps up, I figure Golson and Whelan will come back to town, and Pena will rejoin whenever he’s healthy. Kontos is another late add, and who knows with Brackman. Like I said, I could see it either way. The important thing to remember is that these guys aren’t being brought up to put the Yankees over the top in the division race or anything, they’re just there to take the load off the regulars and keep the pitching staff fresh by soaking up garbage innings. September will be exciting because we’ll get to see some notable minor leaguers (Montero!), but the call-ups are always more exciting in our heads than in reality.

Categories : Musings


  1. CP says:

    Brian Cashman’s recent comments indicate that Raul Valdes and Aaron Laffey will also be called up,

    Wasn’t Laffey DFA’d? Why would they do that if they were planning on putting him right back on the 40-man roster for a Sept 1 callup? Besides, that roster spot could be going to Montero.

  2. Billy Pilgrim says:

    So Montero will finally be called up. We could have used him this series with so much trouble pushing runs across. Wish we could have him for the entire Boston series.

  3. As long as every team can do it, it’s fair in by book.

    Haven’t you heard? September callups are unfair to small market teams and the rules need to be changed immediately.

  4. NJ_Andy says:

    Is anybody else dreading the first time Montero strikes out in the bigs, or goes 0-4 for a night? The bridge jumpers are going to go berserk.

  5. Sayid J. says:

    Question… do these minor league callups in September get paid the prorated MLB minimum?

    • A.D. says:

      I believe they should

    • jsbrendog says:

      ooh that’s a good question. they would have to no? you’ve piqued my interest.

      • jsbrendog says:

        Only players on the 25 man major league roster are entitled to the major league minimum. The 15 players on the 40 man but not on the major league roster must receive at least the minor league minimum for their level or 65k a year if they have accrued at least one day on the major league roster. For example when Carlos Torres was brought up to make his one start he had been making 65k a year as a member of the 40 man roster with at least 1 day of major league experience. For the time he was up he received a prorated share of the major league minimum based on the numbers of days , as opposed to games , he was officialy on the major league roster. Once set back down his salary once again returned to the 65k a year he had been making. All of the september call ups will receive a prorated share of the major league minimum.

        maybe not concrete but it makes sense

    • NJ_Andy says:

      I think so. That seems to be the thrust of the ‘argument’ that TSJC linked to above. It’s Insider only, so I haven’t read the whole thing, but I can’t imagine what other financial implications there could be from bringing up kids from the farm for a cup of coffee. Any MLB org can handle the plane/bus/train fare.

      • You’re probably talking about tripling or maybe quadrupling the salary of these kids for that month. As a minor leaguer in the high minors on the 40-man roster already, they’re making between 40k and 80k a season, probably.

        When called up, they get a prorated portion (1/6th) of the major league minimum, around 300-400k (and obviously forgo the corresponding 1/6th of their 40-80k minor league salary).

        Still, though, it’s A.) a month and B.) 5-10 guys (hardly anyone has all 40 men on their roster healthy and effective and high up enough in the minors to promote all 15 men on the inactive roster, 10 is the feasible maximum).

        So, worst case scenario, 10 guys making a sixth of an extra 250k each = $416,666.

        If there’s a MLB team that can’t afford half a million dollars to promote 10 farmhands for a month, that team has other issues way bigger than that. The only teams who really couldn’t handle that financial pinch are the Frank McCourt Dodgers who are on the verge of being liquidated and seized.

        • MikeD says:

          Exactly, and it’s not exactly a surprise expense. Teams budgeet for the September call-ups at the start of the season.

  6. China Joe says:

    The 2011 annual Phil Coke award for September call-up who comes out of nowhere to impress:

    -drumroll, please-

    Andrew Brackman!

    …did I just blow your mind?

  7. Bronx Byte says:

    Adam Warren should be among those called up. He can take Burnett’s innings so he can be assigned to mop up duty. In the restrooms that is.

    • NJ_Andy says:

      I’m impressed at how well you’ve sabotaged your own ‘joke’ with poor pronoun usage.

      Well played, Mauer.

    • Kosmo says:

      You beat me to it. Although maybe a little harsh on the A.J. comment.

    • The problem with calling up Warren is A.) he’s not on the 40-man yet and B.) he’s not R5 eligible this winter, so there’s no need to add him to the 40-man anytime soon.

      Warren would be nice, but with Sabathia, Colon, Garcia, Hughes, Nova, Burnett, Noesi, Ayala, Wade, Logan, Soriano, Robertson, Rivera, Whelan, Laffey, Valdes, Garrison, Pendleton, and Brackman, our September staff is already quite well stocked.

      No need to force Warren on the roster, he can wait until 2012.

  8. Kosmo says:

    I was wondering if Warren would get a September start ?

    • Dan says:

      I think he should get at least one or two starts if only to give him some exposure since he might end up being a possibility in the rotation at the start of next year with Colon and Garcia possibly leaving. The problem is that they already have a 6 man rotation so giving him a start would make it a 7 man rotation. The only way I think it works is if they decide to give either AJ or Colon, or possibly both a few weeks off (for different reasons). Colon could use the rest before the playoffs because he has started to look gassed and AJ just to keep him from causing anymore damage.

  9. viridiana says:

    No, only guys in whom there is no interest or hope of success will be promoted. We refer to Laffey, Garritson and if we can find him Amaury Sanit.

    • Jorge says:

      None of them (Maybe Sanit pitched a couple when the team was really stretched) pitched meaningful innings. I can understand the logic that it may have been a good time to see what someone else could do, but it’s not something to get upset over.

      If anything, it certainly closed the book on Amaury Sanit, didn’t it?

  10. JD says:

    Kontos has been terrific. Can you give us a sense of his stuff out of the pen. He was 92-94 before the injury

  11. exterminating angel (kosmo) says:


  12. mike says:

    its always a treat when a young guy takes the mound…i remember Melancon having pee run down his leg a few times :)

  13. Laffey will not be called up IMO. He was dropped from 40 man and he didn’t look good so I say he won’t be added. Garrison-terrible numbers-so why prolong that experiment.
    Otherwise I think Mike has it figured out.

  14. Smallz says:

    No love for Man-Ban or Betances?

  15. Tbord says:

    Russo deserves a callup as does Parraz.

    • joe says:

      I agree on Russo and Parraz been the most consistent players in aaa this year and both bring a lot to the table. Unless you say Nunez we have no one to spell Cano this month. I’m done seeing cervelli and martin play 2B in blowouts give him another chance. I really see him being a Jerry Hairston type player when he gets the chance else where next year.

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