Informally, the Winter Meetings wrap with the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning (11 am CT), after which most of the execs and agents head on back home to continue their offseason elsewhere. Before today’s rumors and news accelerate into the evening like it did yesterday, I wanted to get some links in front of you in advance of the draft.
More nerdy fun than actual productive impact, the Rule 5 Draft permits teams to select, for a $100,000 fee, players from other organizations who’ve been around a while but haven’t yet been placed on the 40-man roster. You won’t see any stars eligible for the draft, but it’s not uncommon to see useful pieces developed from out of the draft – remember, a selected player has to stick on the big league roster all year to remain with his new organization. If he doesn’t, his original team has the right to take him back for $50,000.
With big league rosters increasing to 26 this year, it’s possible we’ll see a little more aggressiveness in the Rule 5 Draft, particularly with guys who could be fringe contributors in the bullpen or off the bench, even on contenders. Sure, the usual swath of upside youngsters selected and stashed by rebuilding clubs will happen, too. But I’m wondering if we’re more likely this year to see a team like the Cubs actually snag a useful player.
The draft is always so full of possible relief arms that it’s barely worth speculating on any particular names – if the Cubs take an arm, it’s gonna be because they love the stuff and believe the pitcher is a tweak in the pitch lab away from big league success.
On the positional side, it’s hard to grab a guy and make him stick, but given the Cubs’ lack of upper-level depth in the outfield and their desire for extreme contact bats, how about this guy:
A name to watch in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft: Mariners’ Eric Filia. Filia, 27, is a former top prospect who has posted more walks than strikeouts in each of his four minor-league seasons.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) December 11, 2019
Thanks to a 100-game ban for a drug of abuse (reportedly marijuana, which now won’t even be banned by the league), Filia’s development has been extremely erratic, but it’s not hard to see why a team like the Cubs might have interest in getting him on their bench and seeing what’s what:
That’s just one stray name, obviously, and I have no reason to believe the Cubs are specifically on him other than the appearance of the skill set. The bigger point is only that, yes, the Cubs could conceivably add a guy tomorrow morning.
Teams with fewer than 40 guys on their 40-man roster as of tomorrow morning are eligible to make selections (Cubs are at 37), and if rosters don’t change between now and the AM, the Cubs would pick 13th. Rosters likely will change, though, and the Cubs might slip back closer to their original 16th spot.
Bryan will have more preview material for us tomorrow morning – including guys the Cubs are at risk of losing – but for now, here’s some more reading:
Here's @jimcallisMLB's list of 13 names to watch for in the Rule 5 Draft, including players from …#Rangers#RedSox#Brewers#Braves#MNTwins#Indians#Padres#Reds#Dodgers#Nats https://t.co/CADoOIALbE pic.twitter.com/KFioLtPFXm
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) December 10, 2019
Big update to the Rule 5 Preview. Up to around 50 names to know. Buzz on who is most likely to be picked. Many more names still to come.https://t.co/Sqj3gwD8As
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) December 10, 2019