The Boston Red Sox took care of a little bit of winter business with adding three players to the 40-man roster to ensure that they would be protected when the Rule 5 draft happens. Those three players are Garin Cecchini, Bryce Brentz and Anthony Ranaudo. All three are strong prospects that Boston doesn’t want to risk losing to another organization if they were drafted.
The Rule 5 draft is on Dec. 12, and how it works is that each team can pick a minor leaguer that is not on a team’s 40-man roster. If that player is selected by another team, the player must stay on the roster of the team that drafted him all season long, or be sent back to their original team. More often than not these players tend to not pan out or they get sent back to their original organization. Once in a while, however, there is a diamond in the rough and a sharp general manager of a team usually knows it.
The great Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente was a Rule 5 player, having been signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Other well-known players from this draft are R.A Dickey, Jose Bautista, Jayson Worth, Joakim Soria and Jason Grilli. You have a few All-Stars and a Cy Young Award winner in there. If a team is willing to have an unseasoned minor leaguer taking up the spot on the roster all season long, they can be rewarded.
Two more names stood out as former draft selections. One of them was Johan Santana, who was originally drafted by the Houston Astros, but was selected by the Minnesota Twins. He was horrible with them in the beginning, but the Twins knew he was worth the risk. Another famous selection will be familiar to Red Sox fans. Shane Victorino started out in the Dodgers organization, but was picked by the San Diego Padres.
My feeling about this draft is that a team needs to have done their homework when they pick a player, knowing that they are basically using up a spot on an individual who may be quite far away from being major league ready. They also need to be patient and value the upside of watching the player go through these growing pains on the major league stage. They can’t pull the plug on the player if they want that prospect to be a valuable part of their organization.
Boston believes in the three players that they added to their roster, and obviously don’t want them going to another team and becoming potential stars somewhere else. The Rule 5 draft can be almost overlooked at times during the winter, but if a team hits the jackpot, they can do very, very well, and can be very thankful that this draft exists.