With today being the deadline to add players to the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 Draft, the Arizona Diamondbacks have selected the contract of four players: right-handed pitchers Taylor Widener and Riley Smith and infielders Andy Young and Wyatt Mathisen. All four players had significant playing time with the organization’s top minor league affiliate, Reno, in the 2019 season. All four players will be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, which comes at the end of the Winter Meetings next month.
The Rule 5 Draft is a bit complicated but for all intents and purposes it’s designed to prevent teams from stashing talent in the minors. Players that signed over the age of 18 have 4 seasons before they’re eligible and players who signed under the age of 18 have 5 seasons. For $100k, a team can take a chance on a player in any organization who isn’t on a 40-man roster and eligible for the draft. The player must all spend the entire season on the active roster, which is now 26 for the 2020 season (28 in September) or be offered back for $50k.
Teams have used the process to take slow-developing prospects, add them to the roster and stash for a year to add to the farm system….