The move opens up a spot on the 40-man roster for the Jays (Carlson was on the 40-man, but was also on the 60-day DL, which allows another player to be placed on the 40-man), which now sits at 33, since Frank Francisco, Jose Molina, Kelly Johnson, Jon Rauch, and Shawn Camp are all free agents.
Loewen was the 4th overall selection in the 2002 draft, picked by the Baltimore Orioles. He was originally a pitcher, but experienced arm troubles and converted himself to an outfielder, finally getting a callup by the Jays this September. He is out of minor league options, and would only be a 5th or 6th outfielder on this team anyway, so the move doesn't really hurt. A bad team might choose him in the rule 5 draft to be a bench guy/utility man, but I doubt anybody would have traded anything away for him. There is still some upside, but overall this is a pretty insignificant move on the Jays' part.
Carlson is 30 years old, and has missed most of the last two seasons with shoulder issues. He'd just be taking innings away from younger, higher-upside guys anyway, so again, insignificant.
Per Cots Baseball Contracts:
Loewen has less than 3 years service, so he will have no choice but to accept his assignment, though he will remain unprotected in the rule 5 draft, where any player with 5+ years of professional baseball (i.e. the day he signs his first contract) who is not on the 40-man roster may be available. Carlson has 3+ years of major league service, and will have the option of rejecting the assignment. This might not even matter, because Loewen is a free agent from what I can tell.A player assigned outright to the minor leagues for the first time in his career must accept the assignment. Thereafter, a player has the choice of 1) rejecting the assignment and becoming a free agent immediately, or 2) accepting the assignment and become a free agent at the end of the season if he has not been returned to the 40-man roster.A player with 3 years of Major League service may refuse an outright assignment and choose to become a free agent immediately or at the end of the season.
This probably means that the Jays will look in to adding either free agents or players from within their organization to the 40-man roster, and needed room. I'm not sure exactly who we're talking about here, but the 40-man roster needs to be set by November 20, so that's probably all we're seeing here.
It looks like Loewen was released, and not outrughted, per MLBTR. Loewen is a 6-year minor league free agent, and the Jays released him so that he could go look for an MLB job elsewhere in the league. This is similar to the Lyle Overbay release last year.
That same link provides us with the info that the Jays have signed Venezuelan pitcher Jesus Tinoco. Cool.
AA was on the Fan 590 last night or yesterday afternoon or something, and explained the Loewen move in a little more detail. The way he talks kind of drives me up a wall sometimes, such as when I'm trying to write down what he's saying, since he has so many filler pieces and whatnot. Anyway, I'm not sure I've ever seen the rules written down in the way he describes them (Cots Baseball Contracts is where I'd typically find this kind of thing), but in any case, he said something pretty close to this (square brackets is me cutting out the nonsense):
"It's really a move designed to give flexibility to Adam and ourselves. The way the rules are setup, because he has over six years of service [i.e. it's been 6+ full seasons since he was first brought up to the majors], if we didn't take him off the roster by Wednesday, and we needed to take him off [the 40-man] further into the winter, we would've been forced to release the player [Thursday is the beginning of the new waiver period].
[...] That meant that if we wanted to bring him back, he could not appear in the Major Leagues until the middle of May [which is the earliest date a team can re-sign a player it unconditionally released in the previous waiver period, which began Aug. 1 and goes until midnight this coming Weds]. If we didn't have those type of restrictions, we could have carried them (he and Carlson) another month or two, because we don't need the 40-man spots right now."