INDIANAPOLIS—Baseball is the only draft of amateur talent where teams are not allowed to trade draft picks. I’ve never been an advocate of trading picks—after all, sports such as basketball and football don’t trade minor leaguers, since they don’t have any. Prospect deals in baseball are the equivalent of draft-pick deals in other sports.
But this week’s Rule 5 draft gives teams a chance to trade draft picks, sort of. The slots can’t be traded, but this week has brought a slew of trades including players to be named, and most if not all are tied to the Rule 5.
The Nationals have the top slot in the Rule 5, and have agreed to trade the player they pick to the Yankees as the player to be named in the Brian Bruney. A Yankees front-office official denied a rumor that New York will use the pick on Zack Kroenke, the lefthander who posted a 1.99 ERA for New York’s Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre affiliate. ("Not going to do that" was the official’s actual reply.)
Still, the Yankees are likely to take a lefty reliever after trading Phil Coke in the three-team Curtis Granderson trade. Mike Dunn, Damaso Marte and Wilkins de la Rosa are the only lefty relievers on the Yankees’ current 40-man roster, so some competition for Dunn and de la Rosa for the second slot makes sense. Kroenke is one of the top lefties available in the Rule 5, which is why the rumor got started, but more likely the Yankees will wind up with someone such as Reds lefty Ben Jukich or perhaps Giants lefty Ben Snyder.
At least two other picks are likely to be dealt—the Orioles owe the Rangers a player to be named in the Kevin Millwood trade, and the Astros owe the Marlins a player to be named in the Matt Lindstrom deal. It’s also possible the Rays’ pick could go to the Indians, as the two clubs have not announced the player to be named in last week’s Kelly Shoppach trade.
A few other names have come up today, most of them names we’ve written about previously. A Marlins official was worried the club could lost both righthander Arquimedes Caminero—also rumored to be a Yankees target with the top pick—and outfielder John Raynor. We broke down Caminero in our first preview here, where we also mentioned Raynor. It’s worth elaborating that Raynor posted just a .687 OPS at Triple-A New Orleans, with 19 stolen bases, after posting an .890 OPS with 48 steals in 2008 at Double-A Carolina. Still, Raynor has top-shelf speed and experience at upper levels, with a chance for some upside.
Some late word was that the Marlins wanted Caminero back so badly that their deal with the Astros to get a player to be named was conditional—if Caminero is there at No. 8, where the Astros select, then Houston will pick him and send him back to Florida. If Caminero is gone, the Astros can keep the pick.
"The only thing for sure," one pro scout said, "is that there will be plenty of surprises in the Rule 5."
A couple of other names that have popped up:
• Righthander Tim Gustafson is one of the few legitimate starting pitching options available. The former Georgia Tech righty threw well in the Mexican Pacific League, going 5-1, 2.93, though he walked 22 in 55 innings. Gustafson, currently a Braves farmhand, has a fairly typical repertoire with a fastball, slider and changeup, with his low-90s fastball and slider both grading out as average.
• Righty Aneury Rodriguez of the Rays also falls into the category of available starter who could be stashed as a reliever. The former Rockies farmhand (he went to Tampa in the Jason Hammel trade) turns 22 on Sunday and went 9-11, 4.50 at Double-A Montgomery in 2009, with 111 strikeouts and 59 walks in 142 innings. Rodriguez improved his fastball command over the course of the season and also has a conventional repertoire of a fastball, curveball and changeup. His curveball has above-average potential.
• The Rule 5′s raw order:
1. Nationals. 2. Pirates. 3. Orioles. 4. Royals. 5. Indians. 6. Diamondbacks. 7. Mets. 8. Astros. 9. Padres. 10. Athletics. 11. Blue Jays. 12. Reds. 13. White Sox. 14. Brewers. 15. Cubs. 16. Rays. 17. Mariners. 18. Tigers. 19. Braves. 20. Twins. 21. Rangers. 22. Marlins. 23. Giants. 24. Cardinals. 25. Rockies. 26. Phillies. 27. Dodgers. 28. Red Sox. 29. Angels. 30. Yankees.
We’ll be live Wednesday morning, live blogging or Tweeting (www.twitter.com/baseballamerica) the draft pick by pick. Jim Callis will be commenting on Sirius XM Radio, and we’ll have a post-draft podcast wrapping up the Winter Meetings and Rule 5 as well.
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog