This year’s Rule 5 Draft is set to start in a little bit, and I’ll be covering the picks here. The Chicago Cubs pick sixth, and have plenty of 40-man roster space to pick a couple players if they see anyone they like. The pick costs just $50,000, but, in order to keep the kid, he would have to stick on the Cubs’ 25-man roster for most of the 2012 season (you can play some disabled list shenanigans).

On the losing side, the Cubs have a number of players who could be selected today, including utility infielders Ryan Flaherty and Marwin Gonzalez, and pitchers Dae-Eun Rhee and Ryan Searle. The decision not to protect Flaherty, who could contribute off the bench to any number of big league teams in 2012, was particularly surprising.

(So, the Pujols news really jacked this thing up.)

Round One:

1. Astros – Rhiner Cruz, RHP (Mets)

2. Twins – Terry Doyle, RHP (White Sox)

3. Mariners – Lucas Luetge, RHP (Brewers)

4. Orioles – And the Orioles take Ryan Flaherty. He has a good chance of sticking there. Defense has always been questionable, but he’s got a bat that could keep him in the bigs.

5. Royals – Cesar Cabral, LHP (Red Sox)

6. Cubs – Lendy Castillo, RHP (Phillies). Castillo, 22, is a converted pitcher, who has been good in relief in the year and a half since the conversion, but is really low-level. Presumably he’ll compete for a bullpen spot.

7. Padres – Pass.

8. Pirates – Gustavo Nunez, SS (Tigers)

9. Marlins – Pass.

10. Rockies – Pass.

11. Athletics – Pass.

12. Mets – Pass.

13. White Sox – Pass.

14. Reds – Pass.

15. Indians – Pass.

16. Nationals – Pass.

17. Blue Jays – Pass.

18. Dodgers – Pass.

19. Angels – Pass.

20. Giants – Pass.

21. Braves – Robert Fish, LHP (Angels)

22. Cardinals – Eric Komatsu, OF (Nationals)

23. Red Sox – And the Red Sox take Gonzalez. Bummer. He probably didn’t have a spot on the big league roster this year, anyway. Could be tough for him to stick all year in Boston. Let the speculation about the Cubs letting the Red Sox keep him anyway as compensation for Theo begin. (UPDATE: Sounds like the Red Sox are flipping Gonzalez to the Astros, where he’ll have a strong chance to stick. Crud.)

24. Rays – Pass.

25. Diamondbacks – Brett Lorin, RHP (Pirates)

26. Tigers – Pass.

27. Brewers – Pass.

28. Rangers – Pass.

29. Yankees – Brad Meyers, RHP (Nationals)

30. Phillies – Pass.

  • Luke

    Rhee might have the highest upside of any pitcher in the draft. He could easily be a number three starter when he arrives. The good news is that he was delayed by arm surgery and hasn’t pitched above High-A. If someone takes him, it will be tough to keep him on the roster.

    Searle worries me. He could be a back of the rotation starter next season. He’s no Garza by any stretch, but on the other hand I don’t think he’ll be another Lopez either. I’d hate to lose him for nothing.

    Flaherty is blocked by DeWitt. No team needs two left handed hitting utility infielders, I suppose, but I’d prefer that he go in a trade and not the draft.

    Gonzalez is a switch hitting shortstop who opened up some eyes when he had success in Iowa at the ripe old of age 22. However, he’s blocked in the majors by Castro and eclipsed in the minors by a horde of infielders starting with Junior Lake and including Marco Hernandez, Gioskar Amaya, Javier Baez, Logan Watkins, and maybe even guys like Elliot Soto. I hope he gets into an organization where he has a better shot at the majors.

    • Brett

      Great stuff, as always, Luke.

    • Cedlandrum

      I honestly don’t know if we should ever consider anyone should be blocked by DeWitt. I think not protecting Flaherty is a mistake.

      As for Gonzalez, I don’t think he is blocked. He is one of the very few guys on our current roster or in the minors who can play all 4 infield positions and 3 outfield pos. Also I don’t think he has been overtaken by anyone, mostly because he is the most developed and all of the guys you listed Luke beside Lake are in A ball and below. Marwin could be ready this year, you can’t say that about anyone else. As for Lake, he has way more upside, but that doesn’t mean he will be a better player then Marwin. Soto isn’t a prospect he is filler.

      If people don’t know about Marwin. He is a nice athlete. Switch hitter with a pretty good stroke from both sides. Very smooth defensively with a good arm. His bat was a little slow to develop but he is starting to put it together. He is a tick above average running, but is better at taking an extra base as opposed to stealing. He doesn’t run like that. He is pretty patient batter, not super patient, but he works counts and finds pitches to hit. Not much in the way of power, but a good line drive stroke. He still needs to work on hitting offspeed stuff, but most young players do.

      • Luke

        I’m not sure his arm works from third or much of the outfield. I see him as the Deluxe Edition of Darwin Barney. He’s a good backup infielder who could start for awhile if you need him to.

        I’d rather have him in the system, but more than have him in the system I’d rather see him get a shot. If the Cubs couldn’t find room on the major league roster for Flaherty, Gonzalez had no shot. By the time 2013 rolled around, Lake and Watkins would have both surpassed him and Amaya and Hernandez would be on his heels.

        Elliot Soto is the best defensively shortstop in the system. His bat is coming along, but is well behind his defense. I wouldn’t write him off just yet.

  • mister_rob

    My guy = Diego Moreno -RHP- Pirates

    Should easily be able to compete with the likes of Carpenter and Dolis for a final bullpen spot

    • Luke

      Matt Clark and TJ McFarland are on my watch list. Promising first baseman and a big lefty starter.

      But the Rule 5 draft is the definition of unpredictable.

    • hansman1982

      You got the team right, at least

  • Cliffy

    QT @TBrownYahoo: Source: Pujols will sign with Angels for 10 years for between $250 and $260 million. Full no-trade. Pujols decided Thursday morning.

  • Jason”Thundermug”

    Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that Albert Pujols will sign a 10-year deal with the Angels worth between $250-260 million.

    • Cedlandrum


  • Derrick

    If Im the Astros I have to look at a guy like Flaherty he has 20+ HR Power and could probably easily start on that team

    • Luke

      Yep. Flaherty might be the safest choice at position player in the draft. There are some relief pitchers that are attractive, but if I’m the Astros, Flaherty is on my short list.

      • Cedlandrum

        agreed. He will struggle with avg. to start, but I think he can put it together.

  • Polar Bear

    Pujols to angels. 10Yrs $ 250

  • Luke

    Flaherty (Orioles) and Gonzalez (Red Sox) taken so far.

  • Luke

    Cubs took Leandro Castro.

    Love the pick.

    Edit: As for why I love the pick, this is one of the athletic outfield types I mentioned in my Rule 5 preview piece on CubbiesCrib. Think of him, for 2012, as a guy who can do everything Tony Campana does now, except unlike Campana he has significant upside. After a 2012 spent pinch running and being a defensive replacement, he can go back to the minor to complete his development.

    He’s not my first choice for that kind of player, but I love the idea of it. If it doesn’t work, he only costs the Cubs a total of $25,000. It’s a gamble well worth taking.

    Edit 2: Some confusion here. This may not be the guy. Could be Lendy Castillo instead.

    Edit 3: It’s Lendy Castillo.


    • Cedlandrum

      what do you love about it?

    • Kyle

      I was listening live on It was the A-ball pitcher Lende Castillo.

      Unless the moderator of the draft misheard and the Cubs corrected him after the fact, then it was definitely him. BA’s twitter seems to have got it wrong.

  • njriv

    Orioles take Flaherty, and Boston takes Marwin. Cubs pick up RHP Castillo from Philly.

    • Cedlandrum

      I wonder if the pick of Marwin plays into the comp with Boston.

      • Kyle

        It seems almost certain to me.

        The comp could be letting them keep him without keeping him on the roster.

        • Luke

          And thus the Red Sox would go from “Garza+Castro!” to “Garza!” to “Something Significant!” to “Maybe Colvin, please?” to “Ok, fine, we’ll take Marwin Gonzalez.”

          Garza + Castro to Marwin Gonzalez.

          I’d love to see the Boston press spin that one positively.

          • SosaCrackers

            “Garza benefitted from his switch to the NL Central.” “Castro is young, unpolished, defensively challenged, and would never be able to handle the Boston spotlight. All hail Larry Lucchino!” – The Boston Media

  • SosaCrackers

    I can’t find any info on Castillo anywhere. Does anyone know if he’s any good? If he’s not a starter I don’t really see a point in picking him up we already have bullpen depth.

    • Luke

      He’s a very recently converted infielder. He’s said to have a very powerful arm, but is extremely raw.

      His numbers, for what that’s worth since he’s only pitched 100+ innings in his professional career, show a guy with the power stuff to get strikeouts and not enough control to hold down the walks.

      I have to think the Cubs are going to try to swing a deal to keep him without keeping him on the 25 man roster. I can’t see him sticking in any major league bullpen for a full season.

      Closest comparison in the Cubs farm system would probably be Rafael Dolis. If he has that kind of a ceiling, the Cubs made a great choice. If they can keep him.

      It’ll be interesting to hear Jed’s take on him later today.

    • Kyle

      He’s a converted SS to P who had his first year in relief last year, putting up good numbers in A ball (1 K/IP, low ERA, surprisingly decent BB totals). Has a fastball that has touched 96 MPH and a “good” curveball.

      He’s an A ball reliever, which it seems like is all anyone ever takes in the Rule 5. He could stick or he could be the next Andy Sisco.

      • Luke

        If he can throw both pitches for strikes, I guess he could stick around as a specialist in the pen for 2012. I like the ceiling, though.

        It’s an interesting pick.

        • JasonB

          It is definitely interesting – shown solid skills since converting to a reliever. Like his ability to miss bats and if I remember correctly I think he had a k/BB of close to 3. Seems to be be some potential here. Lots of MLB MRs are former position players who couldn’t hit but had rocket arms.

    • Paul

      A name to watch
      The name Lendy Castillo recently popped up on the roster of the Phillies’ Single A Lakewood BlueClaws team.

      He is a career .239 hitter with no power and a poor on-base percentage.

      Nothing to get excited about, right?


      After three unspectacular seasons as a shortstop in the low minors, Castillo converted to pitcher after the 2009 season. The 22-year-old righthander made big strides in extended spring training and was recently assigned to Lakewood. In his first seven innings out of the bullpen, he struck out eight and walked one while allowing six hits and a run.

      Benny Looper, the Phillies’ assistant general manager for player personnel, described 6-1, 170-pound Castillo as “wiry.” The Phillies have seen Castillo’s fastball reach 96 mph on the radar gun and “he’s got a good breaking pitch,” Looper said.

      According to Looper, the Phils could soon begin to use Castillo as a starter so he can gain more experience and work on his depth of pitches. Castillo, a native of the Domincan Republic, is eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December so Phils officials will be watching his progress closely this summer. He’s a work in progress but has excellent raw ingredients.

      “Any time you convert a guy and he shows a big arm, you feel like it’s a bonus,” Looper said.

      E-mail Jim Salisbury at Follow him on Twitter @JSalisburyCSN.

  • MightyBear

    I bet you’re all correct. Gonzalez and another lower level pick and comp for theo issue is over. Bret is probably correct. He said high level and low level prospect for theo and we’re done. Did we ever comp the padres for Jed and co.?

    • Hawkeye

      I don’t believe we have settled either compesation deal yet?   Also, wasn’t there talk of Theo bringing over one front office person with him?  Is that still in the mix?

  • SosaCrackers

    Makes me wonder if they’ll keep him and trade some of their more proven bullpen pitchers.

  • Cedlandrum

    Cubs apparently have taken Ricky Alvarez in minor league portion according to Muskat.

    • Luke

      Doesn’t strike out too much, but he barely walks at all. None of his offense numbers impress me, but he did spend the 2011 season in the Midwest League, so the Cubs (via Peoria) should have a good idea what they got.

      Minor league Rule 5 guys usually aren’t worth getting excited about, but you never know.

  • Brett

    The Red Sox are flipping Gonzalez to the Astros. Crud – he could stick there.

    • Luke

      The Astros must love the Cubs infielders.

      Then again, when you have one of the worst farm systems in baseball and no General Manager during one of the most critical times of the off season, you take what you can get.

    • Smitty

      My bad, didn’t read the comments above.

    • Kyle

      Just heard he’s been flipped to the Rockies.

      • Brett

        I thought the guy the Red Sox were getting was someone the Astros had picked from the Rockies.

        • Luke

          That’s the way I read it.

  • Rocky J.

    Now that Pujols has singed… PLEASE WERE BEGGING YOU THEO! DO SOMETHING! stop going to this damn meetings to eat breakfast and talk! DO SOMETGHING…. thTS what we signed you for…….right?

    • MoneyBoy

      Rocky … NO, that’s not what we signed him for … we signed him to be smart, build a system, and put a winning team on the field every year … NOT to flail around in the pond with fools who want to pay $58mm for a 33 y/o pitcher and $260mm, for 10 years, with a full no-trade clause, for a 32 y/o (in January) player.

      For any of you who might be Cub season ticket holders I HIGHLY recommend the Vine Line interview done with Tom Ricketts.  He gives a lot of insight into the choices made for the front office and what lies ahead.

      • Kyle

        Apparently, to many Cubs fans, “putting a winning team on the field every year” doesn’t mean “every year.” It means “far enough into the future that there’s no immediate accountability.”

        I’m holding out hope for Darvish.

        • Robert

          Agreed! ^ & the more i read on Darvish this guy excites me. I really HOPE the Cubs will make a oush to get him.eould we know by the end of the day who the highest bidder is? or is a it couple days of process?

          • Kyle

            We should know four days after he’s posted.

  • MoneyBoy
    By Tim Dierkes [December 8 at 9:56am CST]

    Lefty C.J. Wilson will join Albert Pujols in Los Angeles, as the Angels continue a surprising free agent spending spree.  The Halos completed a deal with Wilson today, an executive who spoke to the team told Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

    Wilson, a 31-year-old Fountain Valley, California native, posted a 2.94 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 0.64 HR/9, and 49.3% groundball rate in 223 1/3 innings this year.

  • Kyle

    Technically it might take another day or two beyond that because the Fighters have the right to decline the top offer, and it’s not officially known who made that offer until they make their decision.

  • kernzee

    Someone will have to explain to me why we lost two decent prospects while having 4 empty 40 man spots , plus koyie hill wasting a spot .

  • frankymunster

    I am pissed we did not protect these guys!

  • JK

    I am not pissed but I question the logic. Both of these guys were close to MLB ready. With slots available I question why they were not protected.

    • Luke

      Don’t break out the torches and pitchforks just yet. Remember, there are non-tenders coming up soon that the Cubs may be eyeing, and if they were able to make a major trade before the Rule 5 draft, that would have required roster slots as well. And there were plenty of reports that the Cubs were exploring trades involving Soto, Marmol, Garza, Soriano, and Zambrano.

      As for the two guys the Cubs lost – Gonzalez is a back up infielder, a switch hitting Darwin Barney. The Cubs probably won’t miss him. They would not have gotten much in return for him in a trade because backup infielders are not exactly a rare commodity (just look at the Cubs roster).

      Ryan Flaherty was redundant behind Blake DeWitt. I think he could have handled third base this season, but I’d take Ian Stewart or especially Chase Headly over him any day of the week. I think Flaherty could have brought back something in a trade, and for that reason I am surprised he was not protected.

      I’m not saying the Cubs handled this Rule 5 perfectly, but let’s wait until the whole picture develops before we start jumping to any conclusions. There are still some moving pieces that have not moved into place yet. In the meantime, I’m just glad that the Cubs didn’t lose any pitching prospects. They had some pretty good ones exposed. I’m happy that the damage was limited to Flaherty and Gonzalez.

      Also, losing those two guys should help clear some logjams in the upper minors. The Cubs farm system has so many infielders, they had to get rid of a few one way or another. I’d rather trade them than lose them in the Rule 5, but either way they had to thinned somehow.

      • Paul

        well said Luke,
        that is why I don’t post much, because You have a better way of saying what I am thinking. I am very happy with The and the gang. What would these kids have said if we would have made a couple of trades that required us to remove these guys from the 40 man roster and then lost them? They would be saying that Theo screwed up, and made it to obvious that he thought they were worth protecting blah blah blah…
        I am very much looking forward to all that the CUBS do, including playing baseball.

    • Paul

      I am missing all of the regular BN family today. I don’t like all of the:
      1) come out of nowhere and bash Theo
      2) panick at little action
      3) talk about no longer being a fan unless
      4) talk about doing nothing and being happy with it

      We are all over the place this morning. I, like I assumed most of you were, have been a CUB fan for a long time. I am not overly patient, and am not willing to suck next year, but I think we all need to give this new group a chance.
      RELAX, and give it some time !!!!
      I am still very confident that we are moving in the right direction
      GO CUBS !!!

      • JK

        Agreed. As a Cubs fan I always over-value my prospects. :o)

        • hansman1982

          Ack, Eric Patterson WAS the next coming of Ozzie Smith and Alex Rodriguez – just Hendry was stupid and rushed him to the majors. 

          Theo better not do that with Jackson, OR trade him for anything less than an AGon sized package or I will burn all of my Cubs gear and post the video on YouTube.

          • Paul

            have you been hangin out with die hard, or is that some kind of a joke that I am missing??

            • hansman1982

              Damn, I guess I was too subtle…read yours, read jk’s and then read mine…

      • ferrets_bueller

        Amen. Theo has already made the best moves of the offseason- NOT signing a 32 year old to a massive deal or giving an SP wayyyy too much money for too many years.

        Or wasting his time with backup MIs, the one thing this team seems to always have an endless supply of.

  • Bacon

    If the prospects were ready Theo and Jed would have protected them. Obviously they didn’t think they were ready. So the Cubs move on with some rule 5 drafted guys and a couple more picks thanks to Ramirez and Pena. Getting younger and stronger for the future is the right way to go about it.

  • kernzee

    I’m not breaking out the pitchfork and torches , but in what universe is koyie hill worth a 40 man spot ? This is two years in a row . Does he have implicating photos of Tom Ricketts

    • Brett

      Him being on the 40-man didn’t impact today. There were only 34 guys on the 40-man. There is a 0.00001% chance he’s tendered a contract on Monday. He’ll be thanked, and sent on his way.

  • kernzee

    I disagree . I think it did have an impact . I understand the logic of wanting space on the 40 man , but if you decide you want six open spots to offer flexibility why waste one on someone you think has virtually no chance of being tendered a contract ? That spot could have been used on someone of value .

    • Brett

      Again, whether the Cubs had 33 or 34 guys on the 40-man as of today, it changes nothing. The decision not to protect Flaherty and Gonzalez was made several weeks ago.

      • Tyler31

        I still dont understand why the Cubs didnt put Flaherty but I can understand why Gonzalez when he hasnt had an OPS over .800 since rookie ball

  • Ajbearsfan

    Well that’s put into perspective a little more now thanks to Luke and Paul. I live in Missouri now and am frustrated with these cards fans was just wanting something to rub in their faces for once. Plus thinking on it I really miss wrigley.

  • kernzee

    I guess we’ll agree to disagree.

    • Brett

      I guess … but I still don’t understand. Today’s events had literally nothing to do with Koyie Hill. That’s not a matter of opinion. I think we agree – it’s a bummer the Cubs lost the two they did, and Koyie Hill has no business on the Cubs. But those are two entirely separate things.

  • kernzee

    is there any reason to leave flaherty and gonzalez unprotected unless you are trying to open up space on the 40 man ? If the answer to that question is no I don’t see how Hill occupying a spot is irrelevant . Is there any reason to keep a player on the roster you intend to non tender other than the hope you can get something for him in trade ? Is there any chance of that happening in Hill’s case ? I don’t think so.

    • ottoCub

      The goal for the Rule 5 draft is to keep teams from stockpiling minor league players who might be able to make another team’s major league roster. Keeping players like Flaherty and Gonzalez off the 40 man roster allows other teams to draft them and give them a chance in the big leagues that they would not have on the Cubs this year. If they don’t stay on the drafting team’s 25-man roster for the entire year, the Cubs can buy them back for $25,000 at the end of the year. So, letting other teams draft Flaherty and Gonzalez in the Rule 5 is giving these young players a chance to play in the major leagues, at little risk to the Cubs.

      Koyie Hill has already played in the majors and doesn’t need this opportunity. Being a solid and consistent back-up catcher also makes him good to keep on the 40-man as possible trade bait (lots of teams are interested in experienced back up catchers).

      I’m disappointed that the Cubs didn’t keep Gonzalez and Flaherty on the 40-man roster because they, also, might have been good to include in trades. But I appreciate the move because it gives Flaherty a chance to play major league ball in 2012 that he wouldn’t have with the Cubs.

    • Brett

      Yes, there are many reasons. Once a guy is rostered, he can’t be derostered without passing through waivers. If the Cubs plan to make many moves this Winter, they need plenty of space on the 40-man. That’s just one reason. Another? They don’t think Flaherty or Gonzalez have a big-league future with the Cubs.

      There are many reasons. If Hill were occupying the 40th spot on the roster, I could understand this discussion.

      • ferrets_bueller

        This whole thing is quite hilarious. People are complaining about backup MIs? What exactly is going on here? They’re a dime a dozen- cheap, and with little to no trade value. The amount that teams are paying for them in the rule 5 draft is about what they’re worth in a trade- in other words, next to nothing.
        In a couple of years, we won’t even remember these guys.

  • kernzee

    Fine . The Cubs determined the number of roster spots they wanted to be available to be six , that doesn’t change the fact that they wasted one on a player with zero value and sacrificed an asset to do it . Many times since taking over Epstein has talked about the need to acquire assets in any manner possible . There is no denying he sacrificed an asset in Flaherty to protect someone who is of zero value . whether it be the 34th or 40th spot is in my mind not the issue at hand .

    • Luke

      Not quite. Unless you believe Theo expected all moves to be concluded at the Winter Meetings, he hasn’t sacrificed anything. The thing to to take away from the number of players on the roster is that Theo and Jed expect to add about 6 players to the roster before the season starts. That is the only thing we can take away. The fact that the Cubs only took one player in the Rule 5 when they could easily have taken three or four (unless the rules have changed) only emphasizes that the Cubs believe they will be adding about 6 players. Those roster spots are not being left open on a whim. After Hill is non-tendered, the roster will stand at 34.

      Let’s say the Cubs had added Flaherty to the roster. After non-tendering Hill and making their Rule 5 pick, the roster would stand at 35. If they trade Garza to the Rangers for a package similar to what the Rays got from the Cubs (as is rumored), we would need to add 2 to that number. Now we’re at 37.

      And they land Darvish. 38.

      And they land Cespedes. 39.

      That leave one roster slot to solidify first base, third base and find another starting pitcher or two. It’s not impossible that they could do that… maybe overpay for Stewart by trading both Colvin and LeMahieu to free up a roster slot? It would be tight, but they could do it.

      But if they add too many players, someone has to pass through waivers before they can be taken off the roster. So, to make room for Player X the Cubs waive Flaherty, he gets claimed by Balitmore, and now the Orioles get to keep him no matter what. That’s actually worse for the Cubs than Flaherty being taken in the Rule 5 draft. As is, if the Orioles don’t keep him on the 25 man roster all season, the Cubs can buy him back for $25,000. If the Cubs waive him, there is no such option.

      Bottom line, leaving Flaherty off (while surprising and disappointing) has less to do with Flaherty and more to do with the number of players the Cubs are looking to add to the roster this winter. As frustrating as seeing a guy being taken in the Rule 5 can be, its ultimately a better option than losing that same guy to waivers later in the winter.

      • ferrets_bueller

        Exactly. The point is, if you leave a guy off, you have a chance of him coming back, or not being picked at all as a result of the implications of keeping him on the roster. If you take a guy off later and he gets claimed, he’s gone. The Cubs plan on making moves, and need room.

        I think some people just really don’t grasp how complex is stuff really is.

        • BetterNews

          Its baseball. How complex can it be? Come on man!

  • Who knows

    Let’s get fielder please we need a bat badly. He could really help us