Rule 5 Snooze

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As we all know, the Rule 5 draft is next week and I have already been criticizing the Cubs for who is and isn’t on their 40 man roster in advance of it. For those who are interested, Dave Gershman has compiled a list of every player eligible for the Rule 5 draft, and has even been kind enough to highlight those players he thinks are worth taking. I’m not going to nitpick. It’s a great list. Go take a look at it, starting with the Cubs section, then come on back and we’ll talk about what it all means.

Did you see any names you recognize on the Cubs’ eligible list? Dave Patton probably. Jeremy Papelbon probably caught your eye, but he’s not that Papelbon. Marquez Smith I’ve talked about. What about Chris Robinson? Ty Wright? Jake Muyco? Probably not. And there is a good reason for that.

Baseball America has a nice writeup of recent Rule 5 drafts, and in reading through that article you almost have to reach one conclusion. The Rule 5 draft just doesn’t matter much. The odds of any one player out of the entire draft sticking on a major league roster all season and contributing in any meaningful way are very long indeed. It does happen, but rarely. Very, very rarely.

That said, I have no doubt that I will spend a couple articles in the upcoming weeks micro-analyzing every move or non-move made in connection with the Cubs and the Rule 5 draft. I’ll slice numbers and dice player reports, and in general I’ll type myself blue in the fingers because that’s about all that is happening on the minor league front for a good long while. And I’ll tell you up front, right now, that any player taken from the Cubs will mostly likely be returned to them by the end of spring training, and that any player the Cubs take is highly unlikely to stick in the majors for any period of time, if they ever arrive at all. That’s just the nature of the Rule 5 draft.

It does matter, and it is worth paying attention to, but don’t expect anything significant to come of it. Regardless, I’d feel better if Marquez Smith was protected on the 40 man roster.