SAN DIEGO — The return of the Rule 5 draft pick in the winter meetings for the first time since 2019 brought a packed house and plenty of action to the Major League stage on Wednesday afternoon.
A total of 15 players were taken in this segment of Base 5, starting with the Patriots’ selection of right fielder Thad Ward of the Red Sox and ending with the Mets’ selection of right fielder Zach Green from the Yankees. He’s just shy of the 18 players transferred the last time the major league stage, remotely, happened in 2020 (it didn’t happen at all in 2021 due to the lockout). This was the most since 2010, when 19 players were selected.
Players can be selected to the major league stage for $100,000 and must remain on the active major league roster or be reinstated to the original team for $50,000.
There was also a flurry of activity in the minor league stage, with 67 draft picks bringing the total number of players taken to 82, leading the 74 players taken in 2020 and tied for the most by any Rule 5 draft pick since 1983 (82 players were also Taken in 2002).
Leading up to the draft, it was widely believed that the Nationals would use their first pick to try to bolster their big league roster, and they did by selecting Ward from Boston. Ward, whose 15th Top 30 Red Sox slot and slots at No. 13 in Washington, relies heavily on an above-average slider and has a 92-96 mph sinker. He did well in 2022, both during the regular season and in the Arizona Fall League, in his return from Tommy John surgery in 2021.
Mike Rizzo, general manager of the Nationals, said, “When we do the Rule 5 selections, it’s kind of a balance between a rookie pitcher that you’re really trying to achieve, and ensuring the ability to keep a player on the roster all season. … He’s got a good four-pitch mix, and he throws what Enough hitting, and he’s smart enough and competitive that he can stay in the big leagues. We think there’s still a bit left in the tank on the upside where his speed can return to his pre-Tommy John stature.”
Rizzo said he sees rookie traits in Ward, but added that he might be the kind of comfortable all-rounder if he’s going to stay in the big leagues.
This would be the first of three players the Red Sox would lose in the major league stage, including the most interesting pick of the day. The Phillies took Noah Song, who was selected by the Red Sox in the fourth round from the Naval Academy in 2019, even though the right-hander has only 17 professional runs on his resume, and none since 2019. The Red Sox were when they drafted Song, so it was He is well aware of his upside.
Boston had hoped that Song would be able to get out of his naval commitment, but this did not happen, and he was on the military reserve list during his service. The Phillies can keep him on that roster, so he won’t take a spot on the 40-man roster, making it as low-risk as possible.
“We made sure to double-check that he was available to draft, and he is,” said Dombrowski. “I knew him at the time (from the 2019 draft). We liked him. We thought he was the first pick in the draft. We thought he might be the best starting pitcher in the country. We took a gamble at that point because we thought maybe he wouldn’t have to serve, but He ended up doing just that.
“Being so available, we really had nothing to lose. We love his talent so much. We should put him on the military list immediately so he’s not on our 40-man list. We just figured we’d take a chance and see what happens in the end. This Long shot by all means, but we think it’s worth the shot. I don’t know if anyone knows exactly when he’s going to be released from his service. But for the cost of the draft, we thought it was worth taking.”
Once Song is brought back from the military reserve list, he is subject to the usual Rule 5 requirements, which means he must be placed on the major league active list and remain there throughout the season.
The Dodgers also lost three starters, with first pick Ryan Noda taking second overall, the Pirates clinching left fielder Jose Hernandez with the third pick and the Brewers taking right fielder Gus Varland with the number 10.
Rule 5 is historically heavy, and this year’s edition has been tilted flatly to the mound, with pitchers accounting for 13 of the 15 selections. Only Noda, whose powerful at-bat can fit into the A’s lineup, and outfielder Blake Sabol, who was initially selected by the Reds from the Pirates, bucked the trend.
“I like the power,” said general manager David Forrest, adding that Noda could play at outside corner. “I love walking. I love defending at first base. The Dodgers have asked us about him a few times. Last couple of years. His name came up in [Adam] Kolarek deal and other potential deals. This was our chance to finally give him a chance. In the past two years, he’s done everything you could ask for in Double-A and Triple-A, so I look forward to giving him a chance.”
Two deals were announced shortly after the completion of the Rule 5 draft. The Rays acquired right fielder Kevin Kelly, taken by the Rockies, for cash considerations while the Reds sent Sabol to the Giants for a player to be named later.
There is also the Minor League stage of the Rule 5 draft, where costs go from $12,000 to $24,000 for a Triple-A pick (anyone not protected on a major league or Triple-A list is eligible). Double-A stage eliminated. The players selected in this part of the Rule 5 draft are not subject to any existing restrictions with their new organization.
A’s – RHP Joelvis Del Rosario (hole)
Pirates – RHP Wei-Chieh Huang (SF)
Reds – RHP Kyle Glogoski (PHI)
Royals – SS Shervin Newton (PHI)
Tigers – RHP Layne Henderson (HOU)
Rockies – LHP Eli Lingos (CLE)
Marlins – 3B Dane Myers (DET)
Angels – Ronaldo Flores (SF)
D- Emergence – RHP Taylor Rashi (SF)
Cubs – LHP Jose Aquino (Sea)
Twins – by Armani Smith (SF)
Red Sox – LHP Joe Jack (hole)
White Sox – RHP Ernesto Jaquez (HOU)
Orioles – RHP Alfred Vega (NYY)
The Brewers – 2B Isaac Collins (COL)
Rays – RHP Hector Perez (BAL)
Veles – SS Pedro Martinez (TB)
Padres – 3B Ivan Mendoza (STL)
Mariners – 1B Francisco Tostado (SF)
Guardians – RHB Bradley Haner (min)
Blue Jays – Sea Kecae Rios (LAD)
Cardinals – C Jose Alvarez (HOU)
Yankees – LHP Pablo Mujica (KC)
Mets – RHB Wilkin Ramos (hole)
Braves – RHB Domingo Gonzalez (hole)
Astros – LHP Max Roberts (SEA)
Dodgers – RHB Yon Castro (New York).
Pirates – OF Joshua Palacios (WSH)
Reds – RHB Brooks Crawford (San Francisco)
Rockies – RHP Nicholas Kuzia (DET)
Marlins – RHB Austin Roberts (Pete)
Angels – by Jared Oliva (hole)
D- Emergence – RHP Denny Larrondo (NYY)
Cubs – RHP Nick Burdi (SD)
Twins – SS Yohander Martinez (HOU)
Red Sox – RHP Ryan Miller (NYY)
Orioles – LHP Trey McGough (hole)
Rays – RHP Enmanuel Mejia (pit)
Phillies – RHP Yoniel Ramirez (SF)
Mariners – SS Logan Warmmouth (TOR)
Guardians – C. Michael Berglund (TB)
Cardinals – RHB Brandon Kumar (SD)
Mets – Augustin Ruiz (SD)
Astros – LHP Brian King (CHC)
Dodgers – RHB Carlo Reyes (PHI)
Marlins – RHB Christian Charlie (hole)
Angels – SS Riley Unru (SEA)
D linebacker – RHP Peter Solomon (hole)
Cubs – OF Jefferson Encarnacion (PHI)
Twins – INF Yoyner Fajardo (hole)
Orioles – C Randy Florentino (Texas)
Rays – RHB Nelson Alvarez (New York)
Phyllis – RHP Zach Linginfelter (LAA)
Guardians – RHP Justin Lewis (AZ)
Cardinals – RHB Jose Martinez (LAD)
Mets – 2B Jonathan Arrows (BAL)
Astros – RHP Manuel Urias (PHI)
Dodgers – or Josh Storrs (TX)
Angels – RHP Willian Suarez (SF)
Twins – RHP Seth Nordlin (TEX)
Phyllis – SS Cameron Cannon (Boss)
Cardinals – RHB Ryan Sheriff (min)
Mets – SS Mateo Gil (COL)
Astros – LHP Luis Rodriguez (CHC)
Phyllis – RHB Tree Cop (NYM)
Phyllis – C Cody Roberts (BAL)
Phillies – INF Oliver Dunn (NYY)