rule 5 draftThe Rule 5 Draft allows teams to select players who aren’t on another team’s 40-man roster, and who’ve been in the minor leagues for a long time. It’s a way to prevent teams from compiling and stashing youngsters, preventing them from reaching the big leagues when they might otherwise be able. That’s your short version, anyway.

The draft is tomorrow morning, and the Chicago Cubs would have been selecting fourth … but they lost their first round selection thanks to a broohaha with the Phillies about the way the Cubs used the disabled list as a mechanism to keep their 2012 selection from the Phillies, Lendy Castillo. Players selected in the Rule 5 Draft must stay on the selecting team’s 25-man roster for the full season, with at least 90 days actually active. Thus, there’s an incentive to utilize the DL.

The Cubs could still make a selection in the second round of the Rule 5 – there are multiple rounds so long as teams want to make picks – or in one of the minor league phases of the draft. They could also make arrangements with a team that isn’t planning to take a player, and have that team take a player for them for a little bit of money and a subsequent trade. In other words, the fact that the Cubs lost their first round pick doesn’t really change a whole lot of what tomorrow could look like.

The Cubs have indicated that they didn’t plan to take anyone tomorrow anyway, and, even if they don’t, there’s a lot of Cubs relevance. Namely, the Cubs could lose a player or two tomorrow. Such is the existence of a team stockpiling a lot of young talent.

Baseball America previewed the Rule 5 a couple weeks ago, and the Cubs are featured prominently, with three prospects mentioned as possible selections. Marcus Hatley, 25, is currently pitching in Mexico and is your standard strikes-out-a-ton-of-guys-but-walks-a-ton-of-guys minor league reliever. I can understand the Cubs taking a chance on losing him, but he could eventually be a productive reliever in the bigs.

BA also listed Marco Hernandez, who hasn’t played above A-ball (and is just 21), but could be the kind of youngster a team like the Astros takes a Hail Mary on. Ditto Gioskar Amaya, I’d think, whose story looks very similar to Hernandez’s.

And then there’s Matt Loosen, 24, who showed well in the AFL this year, and has bounced back and forth between High-A and AA. He’s got legitimate stuff, and he’s just got to command it. It’s not hard to see a team taking a chance on Loosen in the bullpen to see what happens.

Other possibilities for selection are lefty starter Eric Jokisch, outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha, righty reliever Zach Cates, and many more. You never know how far another team will reach, as was the case last year when the Diamondbacks took pitcher Starling Peralta out of A-ball from the Cubs, only to return him after Spring Training when it was clear it wouldn’t work out.

An almost aside: the Yankees’ big bonus baby from last year’s international class is eligible for the Rule 5, thanks to a problematic contract situation. Omar Luis is a 21-year-old lefty with almost no professional experience, but the Yankees liked him enough in 2012 to give him $4 million (later reduced to $2.5 million). He would be the ultimate grab and stash.

UPDATE: A couple minutes after publishing this piece, I see an update today from BA. Marcos Mateo – remember him? – is getting a lot of attention, apparently. Apparently, after missing 2012 and most of 2013 with an elbow injury, Mateo is looking incredible in the Dominican Republic. He’s 29, and we’ll see if he’s still in the Cubs’ system by this time tomorrow.

  • Kyle

    Some blurbs today online that teams are intrigued by Mateo.

  • Norm

    Take them all. No big whoop.

  • JulioZuleta

    I’d be a little pissed if a team took Amaya or Hernandez. I think the Rule needs to be changed to a minimum age of 22 or 23. Seems ridiculous to expect 20-21 year olds to be added to the 40 man or lost. Especially when you know that, if drafted, the team would find a way to stash them this year and then send them down for the next couple of years. I guess kind of like what we did with Castillo…

    • ssckelley

      I agree in that the Rule V draft needs to be revamped. I think the players should have to declare themselves eligible for this draft or refuse to join the team that drafted him. A 21 year old position player can be set back considerably if taken by a team only to be stashed on a mlb roster for the entire season. A pitcher is not as big of a deal because it is easier to find consistent work out of the bullpen. But for a guy like Marco Hernandez who has not hit above A ball it does him little good to be on a MLB roster and just get pinch hit, pinch running, or defensive replacement opportunities.

      • Norm

        This player will likely never again be on the ML team and will be getting a raise from about $35,000/year to $500,000 a year. I think Marco Hernandez will be OK with getting $500k if he’s selected.

        • ssckelley

          I understand the money part of it, and for some of those players that is a nice pay day. But for someone who is only 21 they should be given the opportunity to trust in their abilities. It does not mean that the next rule 5 draft they will not be taken, with an extra year of experience under their belts.

          • hansman

            The problem with that is the risk of coercion from teams.

            Could limit it to a player being able to refuse drafting once in their career

            • ssckelley

              I am sure some other details would have to be ironed out. That is just one idea, I am sure there are better ones. My main point is the Rule V draft needs to be revamped or just get rid of it all together. Perhaps knock a year off on when a minor leaguer can be a free agent.

      • Patrick W.

        Yeah, but that’s still an important roster spot for a team to give up.

        • ssckelley

          Not for teams like the Astros.

  • Jason (Thundermug)

    Is there a limit that teams can choose from one team in the Major League Portion of the Rule v Draft and then on the Minor League Portion of the Rule V Draft ?

  • clark addison

    Is there a maximum number of players a team can lose? If so, how many?

    With the upgrade of the Cubs’ farm system, it seems they will be more vulnerable every year.

    • Kyle

      There is not. There was a funny year awhile back (like more than a decade?) where the Pirates got absolutely destroyed.

      • itzscott

        I thought for every prospect a team loses in the draft, they get to pull one back.

        • Kyle

          Don’t believe so. That’s normally only done in expansion drafts.

  • Jason (Thundermug)

    Yeah just read there is no limit. I think that an organization at most shouldn’t lose more than 3 in each portion of the Rule 5 draft. 3 from Major League 3 from Triple A and 3 from Double A thats my opinion

  • JM

    Seems a bit counter-intuitive to allow multiple players to be selected from one team. The point of an organization is to build, not allow teams to come in and pillage your players. I understand why they have it, but not sure if I love it.

    • MichaelD

      I think the actual point of the draft is to prevent a player capable of making it to the majors from being kept in the minors for year because they are in a good team’s organization. I think it is more about players than teams.

  • Jon

    If I could modify the rule 5 draft, I would give each team a few “protection” choices that a team could use on a player, just once. For instance the Cubs could “protect” Amaya this year, but would have to get him to the 40 man roster by the next time the draft rolls around.

    • C. Steadman

      interesting concept, that would probably have to be agreed upton in the next CBA and doubt players union would like that…If Amaya gets take this year he gets a huge raise and gets to be on a MLB roster

      • C. Steadman

        upon** sorry had Kate on my mind 😛

        • ssckelley

          You could have been nice and share that mental image!


          • THEOlogical

            ssckelley, you’ve just made my day. Wowzah!!!

            • TOOT

              Nothing but silly putty, dude.

    • Edwin

      If the whole point of the rule 5 draft is to stop teams from hoarding talent in the minors just to avoid paying them MLB salaries for as long as possible, wouldn’t letting teams “protect” certain players defeat the objective?

      I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be changes, but I thought letting teams stash talent in the minors is exactly why they came up with the rule 5 draft in the first place.

      • Jon

        Well sometimes, especially if a player is signed very young, the team might not be “hoarding” the player, it might just be part of the development plan that they are not close to the 40 man yet.

        And I also think you have teams abuse the rule 5, take players and then play DL games. Even if it’s just one or two protections, that you could not used consecutively on a player, it would be a nice balance.

  • Cedlandrum

    I saw Mateo towards the end of the year in Iowa last year and his stuff was pretty good then. 94-96 with same movement as always.

    • Spriggs

      I’ve always been really high on Mateo and his stuff. He has underpreformed to the point where I almost forgot about him.

  • cubsin

    Carrie Muskat posted that the Cubs have the Phillies first-round pick in the Rule 5 draft, although I don’t expect the Cubs to draft anyone. About half the Rule 5 picks get offered back to their original team, so I’m not unduly worried about our potential losses.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    If we lose Amaya or Macro Hernandez I’ll be a little ticked off, just bc those guys have so much projection. I realize it be tough for a team to stash them though, but a really bad team like the Astro may be the ones to pluck him and come up with some kind fake injury and try and stash him

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I actually hope the cubs take the Yankees Cuban lefthander Omar Luis who they signed last year for a $4 million bonus, with an official contract date of July 1, 2012. He’s eligible under some kind of funky rules because he’s a 21 already but has an extremely live arm and massive upside but completely raw and won’t do any bit to help the major league club next year. If the cubs can nab him in the 2nd round of the rule 5 I would take the risk to sign him.

    • Jon

      ha, if we really want to tank, stash him on our 25 man roster.

  • Spriggs

    I thought the Cubs had two spots open on their 40 man. What are they keeping those open for if they don’t plan on taking anybody? I reeeeally don’t want to risk losing Amaya – or Hernandez. And I’m guessing that Ha will be a goner for sure.

  • The Dude Abides

    Are any of these guys going to make the MLB team this year?

    Are we going to drop in the rankings if we lose ALL of these guys?

    We will be refilling the coffers throughout the season and with next years draft long before the next rule 5 draft.

    I’d be more concerned that we don’t repeat last years mistake and lose our rule 5 first round pick next year (should be fairly high again next season). Theo seems to be getting a pass for what could be a potential decent first round pick during some drafts.

    Come on Theo get someone to understand the rules so we don’t repeat that and the Red Sox fiasco during the manager search when we were restricted from BOSOX coaches.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Jordan Swagerty, cardinals. Get him.

    • jsorensen


  • terencemann

    Is Matt Cerda rule V eligible? Not that I’m worried about him getting picked…

  • jj

    Paniagua: eligible or not?

    • bbmoney

      not by all reports I’ve read.

    • Brett