Why is the service time clock so important? Shouldn't your best players be playing on the major league roster despite service time?
Sure, but with a guy like Lewis, you don't really know if he's one of your best players right now. Even the best talent evaluators are going to have pretty low odds of predicting Lewis's MLB success over the next month. And the cost is:
- you have to give him playing time in a pennant race, just to find out if he's ready (less margin for error)
- accelerated service time (1 month this year equals 3 months next year)
- keeping someone else off the 40-man roster now and through this winter (Lewis doesn't have to be added until December 2021)
- likely burning one of Lewis' option years in 2021
None of those costs are great enough to keep a good player down, but again, you don't know if Lewis will be a good MLB player over the next month. If he has a 10% chance of that, is that worth the costs above?
And unless Lewis has truly flipped the superstar switch right now -- before his MLB debut -- how good do you expect him to be in his first month of MLB action? ~100 OPS+ type, ~0.3 WAR? Is that worth the cost? Isn't that basically Marwin Gonzalez, or what Cave, Adrianza, and Vargas did just last year? Can you realign your defense to keep Marwin in the lineup when Donaldson and Buxton come back? If we really need to add that kind of guy right now, can we find him on the trade market for reasonable cost?