Rule 5 Draft Tomorrow; Don’t Reschedule Meetings to Follow It or Anything
The Rule 5 draft takes place in Nashville tomorrow, with each team poring over the list of eligible players searching for someone who might add a bit of value. As you probably remember, a team can claim an eligible (college draftee in 2009, HS draftee in 2008, not on 40-man roster) player for only $50,000. They must then keep the player on the active roster for the entire 2013 season.
The Mariners showed that it’s possible to find serviceable players last year when they picked up Lucas Luetge and gave him some of the highest-leverage appearances of the year. Luetge proves that the Rule 5 draft isn’t worthless, and he’s a solid LOOGY to have, but it’s not clear that the M’s can utilize the role this year. As always, the most likely candidates to stick/contribute are bullpen arms, and the M’s just don’t have a lot of holes in the pen. A guy like ex-Mariner prospect Josh Fields seems like a good bet to move to a new organization, but would you sign him if it meant keeping Josh Kinney or Stephen Pryor off the team? Not likely.
The M’s pick up of Jason Bay to a major league deal essentially means they won’t be active in the Rule 5 draft. They made a choice, and decided that signing Bay to a negligible-value deal was a better lottery ticket than selecting a 5-th outfielder from another team’s minor league system. I can’t really fault the M’s for that decision, unless and until they dump someone of value to keep Bay around. But taking Bay in lieu of a 26-year old AA/AAA outfielder who might grow into a decent 4th OF? I’m fine with that.
Of course, the M’s may still be involved in the draft – just as providers of talent, not consumers of it. LHP Brian Moran could probably stick as the last guy in an MLB bullpen. His AAA broadcaster Mike Curto discusses that possibility here. His deception makes up for extremely low velocity, and he posted great K rates in the high minors last year. As a result, many thought he might be added to the M’s 40-man, but Zduriencik instead chose fellow LOOGY Bobby LaFromboise. Along with Charlie Furbush, Luetge and Oliver Perez, the M’s are pretty much set for lefty bullpen arms, but given that Randy Choate just signed a three year MLB deal (!!!), Moran may make a lot of sense for some team out there. The Astros are a possibility, with their GM noting that they may select two players tomorrow. Moran, the third member of the UNC Tar Heels selected in the 2009 draft is currently pitching in Puerto Rico.
Courtesy of Ryan Divish, we now have word that Jack Zduriencik’s essentially conceded that the M’s aren’t making any picks tomorrow.