D-backs waive Rule 5 pick Skelton
Battle for final roster spot down to Wilson, Whitesell, Roberts
PHOENIX -- The D-backs have not made a final decision as to who will win the final spot on the 25-man roster, but one thing is for sure -- it won't be James Skelton.
The D-backs informed the Rule 5 selection that he will not make the roster.
Instead, they were informed that the club would be making its decision over the weekend.
Skelton was selected by the D-backs from the Tigers in December's Rule 5 Draft and by rule must be placed on waivers if he is not kept on the 25-man roster throughout the season. If he were to clear waivers, Skelton would then have to be offered back to the Tigers for half of the $50,000 that the D-backs paid to draft him.
It is also possible that if Skelton clears waivers the D-backs could work out a trade with the Tigers where they send Detroit a player in exchange for Skelton, in which case he would be sent to the Minor Leagues.
Byrnes declined to say whether Skelton had cleared waivers, but he did say that he has had discussions with Tigers president Dave Dombrowski about Skelton.
Roberts still looks like the favorite to grab the spot, given his versatility -- he can play anywhere on the field -- and the fact that he has some pop in his bat.
Whitesell has been impressive with the bat, but is limited to first base only, which does not help him since the team already has one player like that on the bench in Tony Clark.
Wilson is a slick defender in the infield, but is not known for his bat and is somewhat redundant given Augie Ojeda's presence.
The team had high hopes for Skelton despite the fact that he had played just 24 games above the Class A level, last season at Double-A Erie. What especially intrigued them was his ability to get on base, as evidenced by the 83 walks he drew last year compared with 73 strikeouts.
This spring, though, Skelton did not fare well at the plate, hitting .150 in 40 at-bats while showing very little pop.
Defensively, Skelton was more impressive. A catcher by trade, he threw out a would-be basestealer from his knees and also showed the ability to play second, third and the outfield.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.