Rule 5 Explained

Tim of Chicago and Doug of Westwood Blues have written this morning to clarify my Rule 5 misunderstandings.

As I suspected but was too lazy to search out, there are age and service time restrictions on Rule 5 draftees. It turns out ESPN.com's Rob Neyer wrote an entire column on baseball's transaction arcana. Here's what Rob says about the Rule 5 draft:

Eligibility: A player not on a team's Major League 40-man roster is eligible for the Rule 5 draft if: the player was 18 or younger when he first signed a pro contract and this is the fourth Rule 5 draft since he signed, OR if he was 19 or older when he first signed a pro contract and this is the third Rule 5 draft since he signed.

A player drafted onto a Major League roster in the Rule 5 draft must remain in the majors (on the 25-man active roster or the DL) for all of the subsequent season, or the drafting club must attempt to return him to his original club. However, since a returned Rule 5 player must first be placed on outright waivers, a third club could claim the player off waivers. But of course, that club would then also have to keep him in the majors all season, or offer him back to his original club.

So, David Aardsma and Matthew Cain are not eligible. Who might get snapped up? The fact that the Giants only placed four minor leaguers on the 40-man with plenty of room left over means they don't have an abundance of quality minor-leaguers with at least 3 or 4 years of pro experience who would be worth stashing at the end of the bench on a big-league roster for an entire year.

Steve Shelby, who knows a frightening amount of personal information about Giants' farmhands, lists in an e-mail these prospects as unprotected, potential draftees: LHP Erick Threets, RHP Jeff Clark, LHP John Thomas, RHP Luke Anderson, RHP Brad Hennessey, RHP Luke Anderson. Anderson is most likely to be drafted, says Shelby.


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