The main point of the Rule 5 draft is so that teams can’t hoard their top talent in perpetuity. The challenges in stepping in and drafting a Rule 5 player is that there is a cost ($100,000) and it comes with several roster requirements. Then again, if it doesn’t work out, the selecting team can either return the player before the season starts and recoup $50,000 or trade the player.
Coming into today’s annual selection — always held on the last day of the Winter Meetings — it was thought that the Cubs would not partake in the major league portion of the draft. Then late Wednesday night, word leaked that the Cubs might be in on a couple of names. I was personally surprised to hear that.
The Cubs wound up making one selection today as they took pitcher Trevor Megill from San Diego. The 6’8″ 26-year-old can gas it up to 98 mph. Last year, he struck out 87 batters in 60.2 IP. Then again, he also had an ERA of almost 4.00 as a reliever, which was quite common in last year’s pinball machine style of baseball played in the Pacific Coast League.
Originally, it looked like the Cubs might lose a few of their own prospects that they did not protect last month. Luckily, only 2 Cubs were taken. They lost Vimael Machin to the A’s via the Phillies and pitcher Michael Rucker to the Orioles. Jhonny Pereda, P.J. Higgins, Trent Giambrone, Oscar De La Cruz, and Dakota Mekkes all went unselected.
Over the past few years, the Cubs used the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft to shore up different aspects of the minors that they viewed as needing some depth. Heading into 2020, the Cubs’ system actually has a lot of holes at 1B, OF, and any pitcher of the left-handed variety.
The Cubs picked up four minor leaguers in Toronto pitcher Brock Stewart, 1B Jerrick Suiter from Pittsburgh, pitcher David Masters from Washington, and OF Vance Vizcaino from Colorado. All will be at either Iowa or Tennessee.
Reciprocally, the Cubs also lost two of their own minor league guys including pitcher Faustino Carrera, who went to the Rays, and 2B Carlos Sepulveda, who was taken by the Dodgers. I was sad to see Faustino leave as he has some amazing secondaries and is such a great teammate.
The Rule 5 Draft signals the end of the winter meetings and it also signals the true start of MiLB Free Agency. Expect to see several “flyers” taken over the next month on some players to provide depth for the MLB squad and stash at AAA Iowa.