There can only be twenty-five players on a professional baseball roster, and sometimes capable, affable, deserving players simply get less opportunity than they deserve. For example, management continually recycles worn out relievers (like Mike Remlinger), sending promising young pitchers (like Manny Delcarmen) for more apprenticeship.
Remlinger, the latest in the Chad Fox, Ramiro Mendoza, Joe Blow Saves saga, actually lowered his E.R.A. last night by allowing 4 runs in an inning. On the Red Sox usenet newsgroup, he became Remlidinger after surrendering a grand slam.
When Trot Nixon returns, who goes? Adam Stern seems locked in via Rule V, and Gabe Kapler isn't going anywhere. Does Roberto Petagine go, while Kevin Millar underachieves month after month?
Previewing the late August roster of 'who counts', it looks like this:
C (2) Varitek and Mirabelli (a no-brainer)
IF(6) Millar, Olerud, Graffanino, Mueller, Renteria, Cora
OF(5) Ramirez, Damon, Kapler, Nixon, Stern
SP (5) Clement, Arroyo, Wells, Wakefield, Papelbon
RP (6) Schilling, Foulke, Timlin, Myers, Bradford, Hansen (yes, Matilda)
That leaves Remlinger and Gonzalez on the outside, Bellhorn likely DFA'd, Kevin Youkilis in Pawgurtory.
Youkilis, Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Petagine, Delcarmen, Lester (maybe), Alvarez (maybe), Shoppach, Sherrod...GMs worry about service time, whereas breaking the rooks in might be helpful, too.
Hey, Dan Shaughnessy, why don't you write an article about the impact of late-season and September callups on pennant races and the playoffs. Want me to get you started? You could start with K-Rod...