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Yankees stand pat in Rule 5 Draft

12/06/2012 2:39 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro
The annual Rule V Draft unofficially concluded the Winter Meetings on Thursday, and while the Yankees neither gained nor lost any players in the selection process, the other four AL East teams had a flurry of activity.

Overall, 42 players were selected in the draft – 15 in the Major League phase and 27 in the Triple-A phase – and the Boston Red Sox were involved in three of those first 15 transactions.

The first player off the board was Boston reliever Josh Fields, who was drafted by Houston with the top pick. Now 27, Fields was a first-round pick of the Mariners in 2008, and was 4-3 with a 2.01 ERA and 12 saves in 42 games between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket.

Three selections later, the Red Sox lost RHP Ryan Pressly, who went 7-5 with a 5.38 ERA in 34 games between Portland and Class-A Salem last year, to the Twins, but with the seventh pick, Boston plucked infielder Jeff Kobernus from Washington. A speedy second baseman, Kobernus was a second-round pick of the Nationals in 2009, and he hit .282 with 42 steals at Double-A Harrisburg in 2012.

The Baltimore Orioles were the only other AL East team to make a Major League pick, selecting LHP T.J. MacFarland from Cleveland. MacFarland, a 23-year-old starter, split 2012 between Triple-A Columbus and Double-A Akron, going 8-2 with a 2.69 ERA for the eventual Eastern League Champions and then 8-6 with a 4.71 ERA after moving up to Columbus.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, lost two players in the first phase, with the New York Mets selecting 22-year-old LHP Kyle Lobstein (8-7, 4.06 ERA in 27 starts for Double-A Montgomery) and the Miami Marlins choosing 23-year-old LHP Braulio Lara (6-10, 5.71 ERA at Class-A Charlotte) with the final pick of the phase.

In the Triple-A phase, Toronto was the most active AL East team, making three of the division’s six total picks and adding San Diego OF Sawyer Carroll, Cubs RHP Alvido Jimenez, and Detroit LHP Efrain Nieves. Boston selected LHP Jack McGeary from Washington and RHP Jon Bachanov from the White Sox in that phase, and Baltimore added RHP Tom Boleska out of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

Tampa Bay also did not make a pick in the Triple-A phase, but the Rays did lose a third player when San Francisco selected RHP Scott Shuman, who made 29 relief appearances for Montgomery in 2012.

No selections were made at all in the Double-A phase.

As for New York’s National Leaguers, the Mets, like the Yankees, also came out of the draft with a zero-sum total. No one was selected from their system, and after making Lobstein their only choice, the Mets quickly traded him to Detroit for cash.

In the Rule 5 Draft, players who are not on a team’s 40-man roster and meet certain eligibility criteria may be selected for a $50,000 fee, and the selecting teams must either keep that draftee on their 25-man roster all season or offer him back to his original team for $25,000. In the Minor League phases, organizations may draft players from Double-A or lower to play for their Triple-A affiliates, and may draft players from Class-A or Rookie League teams to play for their Double-A affiliates.

Since the draft’s inception, more than a dozen MLB All-Stars have been Rule 5 Draftees at some point, with Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, Johan Santana, and Josh Hamilton most prominent among them.

Last year, the Yankees gained two players from the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, selecting RHP Brad Meyers from Washington and acquiring LHP Cesar Cabral from Kansas City after the Royals had drafted him out of the Boston organization; both men spent the entire 2012 season on the 60-day disabled list, and Meyers was returned to the Nationals on Oct. 31.

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