Preparing for the Rule 5 Draft

The Anti-Cliff Lee
Kershaw takes home NL Cy Young Award

It snuck up on me a bit this year, but tomorrow is the deadline for teams to set their 40-man roster for this year’s Rule 5 Draft. The deadline is usually sometime in the afternoon, 4-5pm ET, but that’s not terribly important. Anyone left unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft can be selected by another team, and if that player manages to stick on his new team’s big league roster all season in 2012, they officially become that team’s property. Not a ton of players will stick, but there’s always one or two a year.

Generally speaking, high school players drafted in 2007 (or earlier) and college players drafted in 2008 (or earlier) are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this year. It’s always tough to figure out who is eligible among the international signees since we don’t really know exactly when they signed, but I believe it’s anyone that signed in 2006 (again, or earlier) this year. The Yankees got a jump on things by calling up both Austin Romine and George Kontos in September, both of whom would have been eligible had they not been added to the 40-man roster.

The Yankees currently have six open spots on their 40-man roster, but that doesn’t mean they’ll use all six to protect prospects. Some of those spots will be used for a new starting pitcher or some bench players or another reliever, players that will contribute to the Major League team in 2012. The only two players that will definitely be added to the 40-man by tomorrow are D.J. Mitchell and David Phelps, two starters with a healthy amount of Triple-A innings under their belt. Guys like that are Rule 5 Draft gold, they wouldn’t last more than the first five picks.

The rest of the crop is pretty sketchy. There’s David Adams (can’t stay healthy), Bradley Suttle (hasn’t done anything worthy of being added), and Dan Brewer (hurt last year, was the Triple-A fourth outfielder on Opening Day). I suspect all three will be left unprotected, it’s hard to see any of them sticking on a 25-man roster all year in 2012. Pat Venditte will be an interesting case, he’s got the results and the ambidextrous thing gets him noticed, but there are serious questions about how his very fringy stuff will translate to the show. If the Yankees don’t protect him, which I don’t think they will, then some team will almost assuredly grab him just to see what he’s got in Spring Training. The novelty is too great to pass up.

Among international free agent signees, I do believe that Zoilo Almonte is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter, and I do think the Yankees will add him to the 40-man. The Greg Golson/Justin Maxwell/Chris Dickerson trio is out-of-options, and there’s a non-zero chance the Yankees could lose all three before the end of Spring Training. If that happens, the outfield depth is suddenly Colin Curtis and Melky Mesa. Not good. Almonte, a switch-hitting corner outfielder, had a fine season split between High-A and Double-A this year (.276/.345/.459 with 18 steals and 15 homers).

That’s three players (Mitchell, Phelps, Almonte) I expect to be added to the 40-man roster before tomorrow’s deadline, thought there’s always the possibility of a surprise or two, like Reegie Corona a few years ago. What the hell was that about? Anyway, I don’t see any locks to be selected other than Venditte, there are no Lance Pendleton/middle relief types worth a Spring Training look.

The Anti-Cliff Lee
Kershaw takes home NL Cy Young Award
  • vinny-b

    Reegie Corona possesses photographs.

    • Ghost

      I’ll one-up you from Rewgiw Corona, with a Colter Bean!


    • Genghis

      What I want to know is, why isn’t his name “Reggie”? What’s the real story?

  • Ghost


    • vinny-b

      if MLB roster counts, Todd Zeile?

  • Joe

    I saw some where that Kevin Russo was eligable again. is there any truth to that? I don’t see how he would be, but a few websites have put that.

    • Mike Axisa

      Yes, he is. Everyone not on the 40-man roster and with more than five years as a pro is eligible, age doesn’t matter. That’s how the Yankees ended up with Josh Phelps and the Mariners ended up with RA Dickey a few years ago.

  • Joe

    Oh interesting I did not know because he had already been added once. Thanks for clarifying that. Do you see a team taking a chance on him or no?

    • Mike Axisa

      Nah, he didn’t have a great year and went unclaimed on waivers.

  • Chris

    I’m assuming there will be a post about the best rule 5 draft possibilities in the future. Can you give us a glimpse to who might be the best of the bunch?

    • Mike Axisa

      Don’t know who’s available yet, the rosters aren’t set.

  • your mom

    They should protect Reegie Corona again.

    • Rainbow Connection

      He’s already been picked up to host that show with Kelly Ripa. He went to Notre Dame, didn’t he?

  • vin

    I’m preparing myself for the inevitable David Adams heartbreak. Dude can really hit. Also, I’d hate to see them lose Dickerson, but it’ll probably happen one way or another (protect and trade him?).

    I really see next season’s roster shaping up as:
    12 pitchers (as usual)
    4 bench guys…
    Montero is the regular DH and part time catcher
    1) Andruw Jones type (righty corner OFer)
    2) Eric Chavez type (lefty corner IFer)
    3) Eduardo Scissorhands (middle IFer, emergency OFer)
    4) Francisco Cervelli (backup catcher, emergency IFer – ugh)

  • Chris

    Yeah, that makes sense. I’ll check back tomorrow.

  • RetroRob

    I’d be surprised if Venditte is added, and if he’s selected, I think he’d have a difficult time sticking with a MLB club for an entire season.

    On the other hand, I think Adams could very well be selected. He has already played and hit well in AA ball, and players can and certainly do jump from AA to the Majors. His issue, of course, is he spent last year trying to recover from the major ankle injury he sustained in 2010. Yet if the belief is he’s healthy heading into 2012, he’s exactly the type of player a team should take a shot on because of the upside.

    One logical team to grab him is the NY Mets, who have been looking for a second baseman for the past year, and even gave another Rule 5 player — Brad Emaus — a shot at second last year. They’re also rebuilding, so they can be patient with him. Rumor has it that they may give Daniel Murphy a shot at second, which will end in disaster, not to mention Murphy in the hospital! They know that and that they need other options at second. Alderson and company love OBP and Adams is good at getting on base. The idea that they might also steal him from the Yankees also won’t be lost on the Mets, or the media, let alone Yankee fans if he makes it.

    Adams medicals might be horrific. I don’t think anyone really knows beyond the Yankees, Adams and his doctor. Yet that’s why he might be available and his upsideis why some team will take a shot on him. It’s a small price to pay for a possible starting player.

    If the choice comes down to one or the other, then keep Adams not Venditte.

  • infernoscurse

    I heard the Mayaguez Indians from Puerto Rico traded OF Breland Brown along with Kobe Clemens to the Yankees for Cash

    that gives us OF depth no?

  • NC Saint

    If Venditte makes it to the majors on a non-Yankees team, I will have a sad.

  • viridiana

    Awful thin in outfield. I kinda like Golson.