The Rule 5 draft is a confusing affair with really confusing eligibility requirements. While the Padres have been active participants in the Rule 5 draft in recent years with mixed success, it’s generally not seen as a way to accumulate top level talent. If the talent was that good, players would be added to the 40 man (SO SEXIST!) roster to protect them. Occasionally, though, you run into a situation like the Padres where they have so many promising prospects bubbling up that are all about to become Rule 5 eligible that it’s inevitable some will be victims of a 40 man roster squeeze and become eligible for the draft this December. So, there’s obviously some risk here that prospects we’ve all followed for a while may get snatched away by an enterprising team with roster space.
The other discussion related to the 40 man and the Rule 5 is how it affects things like timeline for call-ups for players that don’t need immediate protecting. There are a lot of fans that are starting to clamor for guys like Logan Allen, Fernando Tatis Jr., Luis Urias, and Austin Allen, but different players have different implications for the Rule 5. If you call up a player in September that isn’t on the 40 man and isn’t Rule 5 eligible, they are now taking up a 40 man roster spot that could have gone to protect another player in the Rule 5 draft. The alternative is you keep the non-Rule 5 eligible guys down in the minors until next season, saving roster spots to get guys through the offseason and the Rule 5 draft.
It’s kind of difficult finding information on who is and who isn’t Rule 5 eligible, so I decided to compile and categorize players that may need protecting on the 40 man. I also took a look at who on the current 40 man is in danger of falling off the roster to see how many 40 man spots we can project being opened to add prospects. This is all very preliminary as there’s no telling how the Major League roster will shake out and affect the rosters.
Rule 5 Eligible and Definitely Will Be Added To The 40 Man
- Luis Urias (AAA)
- Jacob Nix (AA)
- Anderson Espinoza (A+)
- Chris Paddack (A+)
Rule 5 Eligible and On The Bubble To Be Rostered
- Trey Wingenter (AAA)
- Brett Kennedy (AAA)
- Michael Gettys (AA)
- Austin Allen (AA)
- Edward Olivares (A+)
- Pedro Avila (A+)
Rule 5 Eligible But Maybe Probably Not Rostered
- Ty France (AA)
- Gerardo Reyes (AA)
- Jerry Keel (A+)
- Brad Zunica (A+)
- Hansel Rodriguez (A+)
You’ll notice that Logan Allen and Fernando Tatis Jr. are not Rule 5 eligible, and calling them up for a September cup of coffee would come at the expense of another prospect being added to the roster, whereas Urias and Austin Allen need protecting anyways, adding to their chances of being called up this season.
As far as guys that could be removed from the current 40 man, it’s tough to project because there’s a lot of moving pieces. A guy like Phil Hughes or Bryan Mitchell is under contract next year and, so far, have sucked. So they could just hold onto them because they’ve invested a lot of money into them, but also, if you remove Phil Hughes or Mitchell, you still need a pitcher next season at the big league level that will inherit the roster spot, so you’re not necessarily gaining a roster spot that you can protect prospects with. So, as a methodology and for simplicity, I’m not really counting guys on the 25 man roster, but it should be noted that a guy at risk of being unrostered like Walker Lockett or Luis Perdomo, could easily be chosen to fill a 25 man hole like after a hypothetical Mitchell or Lyles DFAing. This is especially true for relievers as they tend to be more fungible.
Guys At Risk of Being Unrostered
- Walker Lockett (AAA)
- Javy Guerra (AAA)
- Colten Brewer (AAA)
- Tyler Webb (AAA)
- Miguel Diaz (AA)
- Brad Wieck (AA)
- Luis Torrens (A+)
- Allen Cordoba (Unassigned, currently on the 60 day DL and not counting against the 40 man)
- Alex Dickerson (SORRY EAST COUNTY!)(Unassigned, currently on the 60 day DL and not counting against the 40 man)
Other Guys In The Minors or Injured and On The 40 Man
- Carlos Asuaje (AAA)
- Luis Perdomo (AAA)
- Kazuhisa Makita (AAA)
MLB Players Going Into Free Agency
- Freddy Galvis
- Tyson Ross
- A.J. Ellis
- Jordan Lyles (has a $3.5M club option for 2019)
On the MLB side, it should be noted they don’t have many guys looking at a big arbitration payday this offseason that might lead to them being DFA’d. The closest is Cory Spangenberg who, in his second arbitration year, will be looking for a raise on his $1.7M.
As you can see, depending on how you feel about certain prospects, there could be major roster churn this offseason to protect possible future pieces. Last season, there weren’t as many glaring possibilities for players that needed protecting as even Franmil Reyes went unprotected, so this winter will be quite different.