The deadline for protecting players from the Rule 5 Draft is Thursday, and the Dodgers have a few players they will add without question. Unlike last year, there don’t appear to be any players who will surprise by being added.
First, let’s look at the rules for players who need to be protected.
“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.
All players on a Major League Baseball team’s 40-man roster, regardless of other eligibility factors, are ‘protected’ and ineligible for the Rule 5 Draft.”
So, that means college players drafted in 2011 and high school players drafted in 2010 are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. The easy additions are Chris Reed (2011 out of Stanford), Zach Lee (2010 out of McKinney HS, Texas) and Scott Schebler (2010 out of Des Moines JC). There is almost no chance the Dodgers leave this trio unprotected. Lee is on the cusp of the majors (despite a disastrous 2014 season), Reed could be a bullpen option soon and Schebler is coming off fantastic Double-A and Arizona Fall League seasons.
If a player is selected in the major league portion of the Rule 5, that player has to remain on the active roster for the entire season. If not, he can be offered back to his original team for half ($25,000) of what it cost to draft him ($50,000). Remember Seth Rosin? That was fun.
The Dodgers have 37 of 40 roster spots filled after the additions of Ryan Jackson and Kyle Jensen, so adding the Reed-Lee-Schebler trio would fill the roster. Of course, moves can (and will) be made to make space. The offseason hasn’t even really begun for the Dodgers yet, and they’ll need some roster spots to add players via trade or free agency.
Some guys who could be designated for assignment to make space on the 40-man include Jackson, Jensen, Matt Magill, Jarret Martin and Miguel Rojas. Darwin Barney could simply be non-tendered to free up a spot. Chris Withrow will, eventually, end up on the 60-day disabled list. It remains to be seen, but the Dodgers probably won’t go into the 2015 season with the 40-man roster completely occupied.
Here are some of the other eligible Rule 5 players:
Looking at the list, it isn’t that impressive. The player who is most likely to be popped from the eight is probably Cash. He made it to Double-A last year and has the potential for plus-stuff. But, he’s dealt with injuries and only got a taste of Double-A in 2014. If a team took him, I’d be really surprised.
O’Brien has been to the AFL the last two seasons and might be worth a look for some team in need of catching depth, but he isn’t much of a prospect and would be a longshot to stick on a roster. Ogle is a first baseman, really, and Maynard has never made it beyond High-A. Dickson had a decent season at Double-A last year, but he’s a fringe big leaguer at this point who hasn’t made it to Triple-A.
The Dodgers signed some international prospects in 2010, but they spent a grand total of $314,000 on them. That class didn’t produce much. I doubt any of the eligible players would be selected.
Aside from the original trio, I really don’t expect any other players to be added. I said the same thing about guys like Martin and Pedro Baez last year, yet they were added. We’ll see what happens, but I’m betting most of these guys will still be in the system come 2015.