rule 5 draftAlthough the Rule 5 Draft doesn’t take place for another few weeks, tomorrow is the deadline for teams to make their protection decisions.

For those who have forgotten, or never knew, the Rule 5 Draft is a draft that takes place at the annual Winter Meetings, in which teams are given the opportunity to select minor leaguers from other organizations. Players not on the 40-man roster are eligible for selection based on the following criteria:

  • The player was 18 or younger when he first signed, and the Rule 5 Draft is the fifth one since the player signed; or
  • The player was 19 or older when he first signed, and the Rule 5 Draft is the fourth one since the player signed.

Rule of thumb? High school player or international signees are eligible after five years, and college players are eligible after four years.

Since an eligibility requirement is not being on the 40-man roster, a team can “protect” an otherwise eligible prospect by placing him on the 40-man roster. For the purposes of the Rule 5 Draft, tomorrow is the deadline for teams to place such players on the 40-man.

You can check out the full list of eligible players at TCR, where Arizona Phil does a good job of keeping tabs on each player’s status (Juan Paniagua is an exception because of his very unique history – at this point, we just have to hope he’s not eligible, and that the Cubs know his status one way or the other).

Some of the bigger names include Arismendy Alcantara, Gioskar Amaya, Dallas Beeler, Jae-Hoon Ha, Marco Hernandez, Eric Jokisch, and Matt Loosen, among others. Alcantara will be added to the 40-man, without question. Amaya remains a very nice prospect, but he hasn’t played above Low-A, so he would be hard to stash at the big league level for a year, even for the Astros. Ha is a nice defensive outfielder, but has limited upside. Jokisch has been an effective lefty up the chain to AA, but he’s got a back-of-the-rotation ceiling. He, Loosen, and Beeler – who have been discussed at length thanks to their AFL stint – will be difficult decisions. If I were another team, I’d certainly be thinking about whether I could use any of those three as a reliever for the next year.

The 40-man roster currently stands at 37, so, absent any derostering decisions before tomorrow, the Cubs could protect up to three players (though they’d then have to drop other guys in order to sign new players, and/or take someone in the Rule 5 Draft themselves).

Best guess? The Cubs will add Alcantara and maybe a pitcher or two. Alcantara, alone, wouldn’t surprise me, though. With a crowded 40-man of young talent, the Cubs will have to roll the dice on some of these guys.

  • Featherstone

    So I have a question about the signing age. We just signed Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez this summer when they are both just 16. Does that mean they will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft when they are only 21 years old? That seems exceptionally young to be exposed.

    • Kyle

      I believe that’s correct, yes.

    • On The Farm

      Alcantara is in his fifth year with the Cubs (started in 2009) and now has to be added to the 40 man so they don’t need to be added until the season after they turn 21 (17-18-19-20-21 add them at 22).

    • cms0101

      One down side to signing 16 year olds. If they take longer to develop than age 21, you really have to decide at age 21 if it’s worth exposing them. That’s the issue with Amaya and Marco Hernandez right now. Both have shown flashes of potential, but they’re not top notch guys you automatically add to the 40-man. My guess is Alcantara is a lock and then they look to upgrade on Beeler/Loosen/Jokisch by finding a pitcher or two on the Rule 5 list that has better potential/stuff. We could also see them de-roster Bard and Gamel for that much more flexibility. We’ll find out pretty soon here I imagine.

    • ssckelley

      Correct me if I am wrong but since Torres and Jimenez were signed after June 5th, and have not played professionally, I do not think this year counts and are not eligible for the Rule 5 draft until 2019.

      • X The Cubs Fan

        The contracts signed begin in the following season for IFA under 18, but 18 yr olds and older are eligible to play stateside immediately.

  • North Side Irish

    I think the de-roster decisions will be more interesting than who gets added. I think Gamel and Murphy would be easy cuts. Wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Brett Jackson lose his spot either, though they may keep him just to see if another team was willing to take a flyer on him in a trade.

  • Dan

    What is the purpose of the rule 5 draft?

    • MichiganGoat

      So teams can’t just hide and stash talent in the minors. Similar to MLB you get 5ish years of total control then you have to do something.

    • Kyle

      To prevent players who could be playing in the majors from being blocked by extremely deep organizations.

      Teams have perverted that into “grab a mid-level prospect and probably ruin him by wasting a roster spot for a year.”

    • Featherstone

      To prevent teams from stockpiling players in their minor league systems when they could perhaps be starting for another team in the majors.

    • Jason P

      I think it probably hurts young players development more often than it helps it. Did Lendy Castillo really benefit from having his development interrupted to get shelled in the majors for 1 season?

  • Todd

    What are the rules when it comes to taking someone off the 40 man say a Brett Jackson or Brooks Raley ? Do they have to clear “waivers” of some sort?

    I don’t see Jackson as having much value at this point, and those 40 places are valuable.

    • Featherstone

      Yes, I believe they are exposed to waivers when you outright them off the 40-man roster.

      • Kyle

        Irrevocable waivers, too. If anyone claims them, they’re gone, no pulling back like in the August waiver session.

        • Featherstone

          Indeed, although if you were to try to pull something like that hoping they would clear waivers, now would be the time. Since every team is facing its own 40-man roster crunch with the impending rule 5 draft approaching.

          • jj

            Exactly, though another team may decide Jackson (for example) is worth a roster spot over (a) a Rule 5 pick or (b) that team’s own prospect. That’s the risk. Unless Jackson is eligible to seek free agency if he is outrighted?

  • HeyNow

    We can dump Jackson and Vitters. Neither has a future. Use the 40 spots more appropriately then pissing away two slots on them.

    • MightyBear

      I disagree.

    • ssckelley

      I doubt either gets left off the 40 man and I do not see anyone worth protecting over both of them. The Cubs still have 3 spots open to protect 3 more players if they choose to do so.

  • terencemann

    When I look at TCR’s list of eligible players, I’m comforted that Ryan Flaherty was 24 when selected and had played briefly in AAA and Marwin Gonzalez was 22 and had also made it to AAA. Seems like a stretch for a team to go after someone like Amaya.

  • James Smith

    [Ed. – We can’t have that long of a copy job. Messes up the page.]

    • Jon

      nobody is going to read that shit you posted.

      • James Smith

        I was trying to copy a comment from another post and it accidentally copied the entire post haha

    • Funn Dave


  • Jon

    We probably have to wait for the offiical list, but ,are they any potential interesting rule 5 candidates on other teams out there this year?

  • cubfanincardinalland

    When is the deadline to tender or non-tender contracts?

  • JB88

    I’m still not certain that Amaya isn’t an error on Arizona Phil’s list.

    He, like others, was signed as a 16 year old. His first eligible season of play was as a 17 year (in which he played) and he just finished his fourth season in the Cubs’ organization. So, by the very well established rules, he isn’t eligible for the Rule 5 draft until after next season. Unless there is some very archaic exception, I think Arizona Phil is wrong about Amaya.

    • AB

      eligibility begins when you first sign, not play.

      • JB88

        This is not correct. From MLB’s own website explaining the Rule 5 draft:

        “Can any Minor League player be drafted?

        No. Players who were signed when they were 19 or older and have played in professional baseball for four years are eligible, as are players who were signed at 18 and have played for five years.”

        • AB

          Almaya was signed when he was he was 16 in 2009, I’m assuming before June 1 or whenver the cutoff was. 5 drafts after he was signed: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

          • JB88

            Again, that is not what MLB’s own webpage is stating the rules are. It says nothing about when the draft occurred. It discusses it in terms of playing seasons. And this is consistent with the prior rule (only difference is that one additional playing year was added after the 2006 season).

        • AB

          From Az Phil’s own notes:

          “A minor league player who was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract is eligible for selection starting with the 5th Rule 5 Draft after he signs”

  • Funn Dave

    [Ed. – What’s with the giant copy jobs?]

    • Cubbie Blues

      Can we stop this childish bullshit now?

      • MichiganGoat

        Stop trolling Cubbie

      • hansman

        Wha? Wasting space on the internet to be dumb? That never happens.

      • Funn Dave

        Sorry. So sorry. Everyone, please direct your gaze to Cubbie Blues; he would like your full attention for some very serious Cubs talk. Everyone please give Cubbie Blues your full attention. Cubbie Blues, please continue.

    • Funn Dave

      Oh, ya’ know, just childish bullshit.

    • hansman

      Copy Jobs? Why in the hell aren’t I getting one of those?

      • Funn Dave

        Flipping burgers >> making copies.

  • cubsin

    We obviously need a backup catcher, a starting pitcher, a relief pitcher and a RHH outfielder through free agency or trade, so we need to get down to 36. Add Alcantara, drop Gamel and Bard, done.

    • cub2014

      This summer trade Barney add Baez.
      Trade or release someone? for Bryant

  • Internet Random

    “Juan Paniagua is an exception because of his very unique history – at this point, we just have to hope he’s not eligible, and that the Cubs know his status one way or the other.”

    I thought it was agreed that we’d call him John Breadandwater.

    • Internet Random

      That’s not my bit, btw. But I can’t remember whom to credit.

  • Blublud

    Potential names off the 40 man roster.

    Fujikawa(who is really going to claim him at 4 million)
    Lim (who cares if he is claimed)
    Cabrera (possibly)

    • MichiganGoat

      I think Fuji (and Lim) have to be on the 25/40 or be DFA’d I know we’ve gone over this before international free agents but I don’t think the amateur rules apply to him. He is just a free agent signing. As for the rest I’m not concerned about losing them

    • Jason P

      Designating Cabrera for assignment would be losing a better prospect to protect a worse one.

  • Jason P

    I’d like to see Loosen, Beeler, and Alcantara added to the 40 man. Beeler will almost certainly be taken by someone after his great AFL performance, and Loosen’s stuff gives him the upside of a number 3 starter.

    Amaya’s a “hit tool” prospect who didn’t hit exceptionally well at low-A last year. Hernandez struggled even more than Amaya at the same level. Jokisch seems like Rusin/Raley 2.0 (3.0?) to me.

    Raley and Bard are both expendable. If we really wanted to, I’m sure we could take a younger Bard in the rule-5 draft (like Rondon last year), and how many years does Raley have to post a mediocre ERA in Triple-A before we accept it’s just not gonna happen with him?

    • Troy

      Because ERA isn’t everything or something like that

      • Jason P

        How about FIP, K/9, and BB/9? Do they matter? Because they’re nothing special, either.

  • Bill

    Take Lim,Fujikawa,Bard,Murphy off the 40 man add Alcantara,Beeler,Loosen,and Jokisch.

  • ssckelley

    The Rule 5 draft is another gripe of mine about the DH rule. With the AL having the DH rule there are less moves to make and those teams have an advantage drafting a rule 5 player and stashing them on their active roster all season.

  • jkppkj

    From wiki:

    “To prevent excessive turnover in the minor league levels, each draftee costs $50,000. If the draftee does not stay on the selecting team’s 25-man (major league) roster all season, the player must be offered back to his original team at half-price. Organizations may also draft players from AA or lower to play for their AAA affiliates (for $12,000) and may draft players from A teams or lower to play for their AA affiliates (for $4,000).”

    So can’t Amaya be taken by someone and put in AA ???

    • Brett

      No, because he’ll at least be protected on the AAA roster. We’re getting far down the rabbit hole.

  • DavidC

    Can someone explain to me why exactly we need to worry about protecting Loosen? He was downright awful in his second go at AA this year as a 24 year old.

  • CubbieBubba

    I’m sure we’ll hear more tomorrow, but does anyone know what the Cubs did to their 40 man today?

  • Kyle

    Side note that’s usually of interest: anyone *not* rostered by tonight can’t be traded until after the Rule 5 draft is over.

    • Carne Harris

      Good to know, thanks. Someone needs to make a Rule 5 Draft board game so we can keep track of all the subtleties.

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