Yankees lose Kahnle, four others in Rule 5 Draft

Kahnle. (Robert Pimpsner)

Kahnle. (Robert Pimpsner)

The Yankees lost five total players in this morning’s Rule 5 Draft, most notably Double-A RHP Tommy Kahnle. He was taken by the Rockies with the fourth overall selection. In a nutshell, New York receives a $50k fee and Kahnle must now stick on Colorado’s active 25-man roster all of next season. If he doesn’t, they’ll have to place him on waivers and then offer him back to the Yankees before being able to send him to the minors.

Kahnle, 24, was the team’s fifth round pick in the 2010 draft, out of Lynn University in Florida. They gave him $150k to turn pro. Kahnle had a 2.85 ERA (3.85 FIP) with a ton of strikeouts (11.10 K/9 and 28.8 K%) and a ton of walks (6.75 BB/9 and 17.5 BB%) in 60 innings for Double-A Trenton this summer. He throws very hard, regularly running his fastball up to 97-98, but he lacks a good offspeed pitch and his control is shaky at best. The Yankees offered him in trades for Alfonso Soriano and Michael Young before the deadline earlier this year.

The four players the Yankees lost in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft are OF Ravel Santana (Astros), RHP Mikey O’Brien (Reds), RHP Felipe Gonzalez (Pirates), and converted infielder RHP Kelvin Castro (Marlins). Santana is the big name here because he was once one of the team’s very best prospects. Injuries — most notably a shattered ankle in 2011 and a broken arm in 2013 — have hampered his development. The 21-year-old had a 157 wRC+ with the Rookie GCL Yankees in 2011, an 83 wRC+ with Short Season Staten Island in 2012, and then did not play in 2013.

The minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft works differently than the Major League phase. The players do not have to stick on a certain roster all year, they simply become their new team’s properly. The Astros essentially purchased Santana from the Yankees for the $12k fee. Same applies to the other three guys taken in the minor league portion.

The Yankee left several other interesting relief arms — RHP Chase Whitley, RHP Danny Burawa, and LHP Fred Lewis, specifically — exposed in the Rule 5 Draft, but none were selected. The Bombers have a full 40-man roster and were not able to make a pick themselves. The full Rule 5 Draft results can be seen here.

Categories : Transactions


  1. The Great Gonzo says:

    Is there a legit shot Tommy Kahnle sticks in Denver?

    • pat says:

      Seems unlikely, but crazier things have happened. Kid has a golden arm.

    • Bavarian Yankee says:

      if he keeps on walking guys like last year … no chance. I’d say he’ll be back before the end of May unless they like him and work something out with the Yanks.

    • JKK says:

      Great stuff on Tommy Kahnle. I would rather protect him than keeping Claiborne. Much better overall stuff. BTW, does any one know for sure how would the 2014 Draft order for the Yankees be after they signed three players with compensation picks and lost two of their own with compensation picks. Would Yankees loss their 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks and keep their two 1st round Supplemental picks or would Yankees loss their 1st round and the two Supplemental picks and keep their 2nd and 3rd round picks?

    • Wolfgang's Fault says:

      Feels like the Yankees have bungled the entire off-season. Like the McCann signing but hate it if it means we deal Murphy. Ellsbury is a nice player, but not for $153M for 7 (w/a $16M option year to boot) & certainly not when if forces them to deal Gardner. Like Beltran, but at 36, how much more does he give them than Granderson if anything? Had they not spent all that dough on Ellsbury, you think they could have scratched together enough dough & years early enough in the process for Cano to have said yes? I do. Really hate losing Kahnle (on the heals of dealing Corey Black for Soriano this past summer) & really hate to lose Ravel Santana – a kid who potentially could become a star. Nice pickup for the Astros if they can keep him on the field. It’s beginning to feel like the Bombers are hemorrhaging young upside arms. Don’t know enough about converted infielder Kelvin Castro as a pitcher or Felipe Gonzales but Castro does have a strong arm. Even Mikey O’Brien has a live arm and hasn’t yet turned 24 years old yet. We’re losing people left and right seemingly without any idea what these guys upsides are. Don’t like the direction the club is going in at all. Maybe the signings of Kelly Johnson & Zelous Wheeler & the acquisition of Dean Anna provides unexpected production, but I’ll believe it when I see it. So far, not happy w/the 2014 NY Yankees.

  2. vin says:

    At least they still have Vernon Wells.

  3. pat says:

    Oh wow Ravel. That sucks. I’ll never forget that day he broke his ankle. Teammates tweeted afterwards that it was the worst injury they had ever seen on a baseball field.

  4. DERP says:

    The Brewers selected someone in the MLB portion who has only appeared in the GCL. I am assuming he was in a similar situation to Omar Luis.

  5. Rick says:

    Is there anyway to get Ravel back? Seems crazy to have a foreign bonus baby, only to lose him for $12k. Me sad.

  6. Mike says:

    How does the minor league portion of this work? How do they determine who is eligible?

  7. DERP says:

    It looks like Colorado is bringing back a lot of their bullpen, and they added Hawkins.

    • hey now says:

      They’re also evidently close to signing J.P. Howell, which sucks. I was hoping the Yanks would make a run at him, but my pragmatic side knew that was a pipe dream.

  8. gageagainstthemachine says:

    I understand losing out on the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft because of a full 40 man roster, but does that mean being locked out of the minor league draft too? It seems really unfair that having an open spot on your 40 man means you get to select a player (albeit they have to stick for the whole MLB season) AND participate in the minor league draft and steal players for a measly 12K. But because of no open 40 man spot, the Yankees don’t even get to raid others minors for 12K a pop, but they get to be raided 5x over? Am I completely missing something on how this system works or is just more Bud Selig “competitive balance” crap? A little help here…

    • JCK says:

      I was just about to ask the same thing. Seems like the 40 man slot issue wouldn’t apply there. Or do you have to participate in the major league portion to be eligible to participate in the other? That does strike me as unfair, especially given the result here.

    • handtius says:

      Nope, they passed on selecting anyone. They were allowed to participate in the minor league portion

  9. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    Nowhere near as bad I thought that was going to go. I thought Whitley was a goner for sure.

    Sucks about Santana, but that does feel like looking at “Mean Girls” Lindsay Lohan and not the current…..ah, who am I kidding. I’d take the current version every day and night of the week as well.

    I wish Ravel the best, but he’s a much longer shot to become something immediately out of his current spot than, say, Jose Quintana was.

    As for whether someone like Kahnle comes back, I always think it’s much more likely the guy either gets returned or the original team says, “just buy him from us and keep him.” Prediction: Back in our system before Opening Day.

    Or All-Star NL Closer. BUT ONE OF THEM.

  10. Not Mikey O’Brian he’s going be a good one ehh

  11. MartinRanger says:

    Phew on Whitley. I thought he was a goner. He’ll be a valuable piece of the bullpen in the next two years.

  12. JMK says:

    Post injuries, Santana just wasn’t the player we were all first tantalized by. It’s a shame but I wish him well.

  13. Darren says:

    If the Astros decide not to keep Ravel on the Major League roster, do they have to offer him back to the Yankees first, or does he have to make it through waivers first before the Yankees can dibs on him?

  14. Pseudoyanks says:

    Yanks Farm System is 20-30 but they can’t keep other teams from grabbing their unprotected depth?

    • CS Yankee says:

      Feel the same way, but know its not a direct correlation.

      NYY lost 5 guys
      STL lost 3
      Bos lost 1
      TB lost 1
      Was lost 1
      KC lost 0

      The five most touted farms clubs lost 6 total but NYY lost 5 and are regarded maybe 15th best?

  15. Coolerking101 says:

    What does it say about the yanks management that so many of their guys got drafted in the minor league portion? Given they have a middle of the road farm system, you have to wonder how so many allegedly decent guys went unprotected.

    • steve (different one) says:

      It says that the Yankees management is not allowed any more roster spots than the other teams.

      • Coolerking101 says:

        C’mon. It obviously says more than that. You are suggesting that the Yanks lost more players than other teams because they have more talent and couldn’t protect everyone. This doesn’t jive with the fact that we know their talent level is middle of the road at best. Sounds to me like management screwed up or is valuing their players differently than other organizations. That’s a bad thing considering how poor a job the yanks have done at developing players over the years.

        • steve (different one) says:

          This same exact thing happened a few years ago, the Yankees lost a bunch of guys in the rule V and nothing became of any of them.

          What if half of these guys are returned during ST? Did they then not screw up?

          I am most disappointed in Santana, but there is just no way they could give him a roster spot after losing so much time to injury. It sucks, but considering the injuries happened on the field, I don’t really see how this situation was avoidable.

        • CS Yankee says:

          Could mean what you state, or also;
          1) freak occurance
          2) other teams felt they drafted good talent but since they haven’t panned out, they feel they can strike gold.
          3) let’s hurt them everyway possible since they are the Yankees.
          4) Yankees know how to overstock (draft) certain positions (C & P), and can’t hold them all forever.\
          5) They are better than the average on talent but little high-end (protected) talent.

  16. DelsMundo says:

    I keep hearing how bad the Yankee farm system is yet they lost five rule five players? Maybe their system isn’t so bad after all.

    • Caballo Sin Nombre says:

      The kind of players that get drafted in the MiLB portion do not give the Yankees farm system significant “points” in the relative rating of farm systems. In fact, neither do the kinds of guys drafted in the ML portion either. Farm systems are rated relative to each other based on the top 10-15 prospects. The Yankees money has always let them buy interesting non-prospects, giving them a surplus of the type of guys who go in these drafts. It’s “depth”, but not very useful depth, unless you are just trying to fill out organizational slots.

  17. RetroRob says:

    Really surprised by Santana. Unless they just plan to have him sit on their roster, eating up one of the 25-man slots. I suppose it’s not impossible since the Astros are so bad. They could keep him as a fifth OFer, base runner (did his speed return?) since they are so bad. Yet, seems unlikely, which makes me wonder why they did this?

    Tommy Kahnle has a great arm. He could stick.

  18. PunkPitch says:

    There is no correlation tobthe number of players taken in the minor league portionnof the rule 5 draft and the strength of our system. Santana and Castro are high risk, high upside guys. That’s all.

  19. Tom says:

    Putting aside the MiLB portion of the draft, what they did with was probably the best way to go about it in terms of the possibility of keeping Kahnle long term

    The Yankees may need as many as 6 40man spots going forward
    - Beltran, 2nd base, backup IF, starter, 2 relievers

    By exposing Kahnle to the Rule V, he has to stick on the 25 man all year. Had they protected him and then later need that 40 man spot, he would be exposed to waivers – which means he merely needs to be kept on another team’s 40 man (so someone could stash him in the minor or majors). And if the other team tries to clear him off the 40 man the Yankees are in the standard waiver claim order (they don’t get first crack to bring him back)

    Doing it this way probably increased the chances of him coming back.

    This is part of the problem with protecting Campos – he is essentially “stuck” on the 40man, if the Yankees expose him to waivers to get that 40man spot back another team will almost assuredly take a talent like that and burn a 40 man spot. Next year (assuming he pitches well) he would almost certainly have to be added to the 40man and kept on it, but I think the Yankees burned one 40 man spot a year early on him.

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