When it comes to the baseball calendar, there can’t be an event more unsubstantial that drives more discussion and consternation amongst a fan base than the Rule 5 Draft.
That is why, at any point in the season, one can drop it as a topic of discussion and most everyone will have something to say.
With the trade deadline behind us—the event most likely to bring new prospects in—I thought I’d take a quick look at who’s eligible and who’s likely to be protected.
What’s nice is that if you know how to count, a player’s status is known the minute they sign, so it’s something that can be discussed anytime. It is possible the names change as the season wraps up, so maybe we can revisit this topic in a few weeks, but for now, here’s a quick look at the names you’re likely to hear in the months ahead.
Keep in mind, this is strictly my opinion. If you want to see the lists I was working off for yourself, check out my handy dandy Rule 5 spreadsheet.
Eligible, but likely to be added before the end of the season
If not for recent injures, both Bolton and Bae may have been up already, but I foresee both making it up at some point by season’s end.
If no one picked up Alldred on waivers, they aren’t doing it in the draft, but this is just to say he could find himself on the roster before the season is over.
Not taken before, won’t be now
These are names that could have fallen in the next group, but I gave them their own, as they have been left unprotected and subsequently unselected before. Outside of massive jumps in performance or new developmental changes, players who go unselected tend to stay that way.
It’s slightly disingenuous to list Cruz, Martin, and Yean here, as they didn’t have the opportunity to be selected. Personally, I don’t think they would have been, and for different reasons, are trending that way right now.
Sound and fury, signifying nothing
Every year, there is a subset of fans who don’t seem to quite understand how the draft actually works, who want to protect 15 prospects. Here is a new list of names history says won’t be taken, but they will be discussed nonetheless:
The miscalculations here could be for any number of reasons: names recently acquired in trades, which leads fans to believe the front office doesn’t want to risk losing them (DeVito, Escotto, Nuñez, Scott); names whose performance hasn’t matched their perceived prospect status (Escotto, Mojica, Scott); big performance not matching prospect status (Alvarez, Shackelford); or just fan favorites (Sabol).
Nuñez is obviously the controversial decision here, but I just don’t see his profile (bat and corner only) as being one highly sought after. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.
I could go either way
Tahnaj Thomas (previously not added)
Noe Toribio (previously not added)
Now we’re into the territory of players who possibly could get protected, but for whatever reason, I just don’t want to call them locks.
Names like Jimenez and Nolasco are too far away, in my opinion. Players like Fraizer and Triolo have looked like possibilities at different points over the last year, but I’m not ready to put them over the top just yet.
I really didn’t have Lopez on my radar—shame on me as an avid P2 reader—but after FanGraphs listed him as a “must-add”, I took another look and felt comfortable putting him here.
Locks, for now
While some may have included Burrows in the first group, I’m more comfortable with him here for now, given how his transition to Triple-A has gone.
I waffle on Gorski’s inclusion here, but despite an injury, I think he did enough to cement his status this offseason. He is the most unsure I am on this list right now.
Rodriguez, on the other hand, I am as certain as I could be at this point.
Other players of note, previously unprotected
Other players of note, newly eligible
Joelvis Del Rosario
Pirates Payroll Updates
—Yoshi Tsutsugo was mercifully given his release, meaning that the team will be paying $1,340,659 in Termination Pay, unless he finds his way to another team somehow, of course.
—The team made a backup catcher swap, claiming José Godoy and designating Taylor Davis. Godoy had .029 days of service and two options remaining entering the season, with another .013 days accrued this season. He has also been on assignment long enough to use an option this season, meaning he’ll have one remaining going into 2023, with six full years on contractual control remaining.
The claim of Godoy raised payroll $238,462, while the subsequent outright of Davis lowered it $191,555, netting out to $46,907.
—Another claim was made over the weekend, with Kevin Padlo coming in and being immediately optioned to Indianapolis.
Padlo has accrued .022 days of service coming into this season, while using options in 2020 and 2021. He has accrued .015 days in 2022 and has been down long enough to use an option, meaning he will have no options remaining after this season, with six full years of contractual control left. He has also been optioned four times this season, meaning he’s pushing up against the new five-option limit for the season.
Payroll went up $36,988 after the claim, while the team is now on the hook for $421,429 of Jake Marisnick’s salary, again, unless he finds his way to another major league job before season’s end.
—The swap of Rodolfo Castro and Cal Mitchell resulted in a mere $1,593 bump, as Castro is making a prorated $705,000 and Mitchell is at $700,000.
—Payroll stands at $60,591,733 for the Labor Relations Department, while it’s $73,625,982 for CBT purposes.+ posts
A longtime Pirates Prospects reader, Ethan has been covering payroll, transactions, and rules in-depth since 2018 and dabbling in these topics for as long as he can remember. He started writing about the Pirates at The Point of Pittsburgh before moving over to Pirates Prospects at the start of the 2019 season.
Always a lover of numbers and finding an answer, Ethan much prefers diving into these topics over what’s actually happening on the field. These under and often incorrectly covered topics are truly his passion, and he does his best to educate fans on subjects they may not always understand, but are important nonetheless.
When he’s not updating his beloved spreadsheets, Ethan works full-time as an accountant, while being a dad to two young daughters and watching too many movies and TV shows at night.