40-man full before Rule 5 adds, free agency

Several Mets players will lose their 40-man roster spots early this offseason.

In an unusual circumstance, the Mets' 40-man roster actually will be full even before the club adds farmhands eligible for the Rule 5 draft or signs any free agents this winter to major league deals.

That's because eight players finished the season on the 60-day disabled list, where they did not count against the 40-man roster: Ike Davis, Josh Edgin, Matt Harvey, Jeremy Hefner, Jenrry Mejia, Bobby Parnell, Scott Rice and Johan Santana.

So the Mets, in essence, finished the season with 48 players on the 40-man roster.

Because the Mets only have eight free agents, the 40-man roster will be full once the players are activated from the 60-day DL no later than five days after the World Series. (The free agents are David Aardsma, Tim Byrdak, Pedro Feliciano, Frank Francisco, Aaron Harang, LaTroy Hawkins, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Santana.)

Last November, the Mets added six prospects to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. The previous year they added seven.

Assuming they add an equivalent number next month, that means wholesale subtractions from the 40-man roster even before free agency begins in earnest.

Who is the most likely to go?

Well, Jordany Valdespin survived his activation from a 50-game suspension with days to go in the season because the Mets had the available 40-man spot at that point, but he would figure to be one of the first casualties. If the Mets need to subtract at least five or six more, the most vulnerable would appear to be Scott Atchison, Greg Burke, Robert Carson, Sean Henn, Zach Lutz, Mike Baxter, Andrew Brown and Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

Prospects are added to the 40-man roster by Nov. 20 to shield them from the Rule 5 draft, so no later than then is when the first wave of subtractions should be fully clear.