Available Cardinals Rule 5 Players by Level

The St. Louis Cardinals have more players eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 draft than in the last two years combined. Not all are equal, however. Some are cheaper to catch and easier to keep.

Over the last week, the St. Louis Cardinals made two waves of roster moves to prepare for the upcoming Rule 5 draft, to be held as part of Baseball's Winter Meetings on December 9. The first action was to add five prospects with the other dropping four and adding two more.

The by-product is a group of 41 players left unprotected by the Cardinals, eligible to be selected by another organization in the Rule 5 draft. This is the largest quantity of St. Louis eligibles in at least the last five years and is two more than the total unprotected over the previous two years combined.

As a point of reference, the Cardinals had three players selected in the last two Rule 5 drafts, none of whom returned to the organization. Pitcher Mike Parisi was taken by the Cubs in 2009 after pitching in the Arizona Fall League and reliever Luis Perdomo and outfielder Cody Haerther departed in 2008 (the latter in the Triple-A phase).

40-man adds R5 available Lost
2010 7 41 TBD
2009 8 23 1
2008 2 16 2
2007 6 18 0
2006 5 27 0
Average 6 25

Of the 41 currently-eligible players, 16 are pitchers, including just two left-handers. The other 24 consist of six catchers, four middle infielders, four corner infielders and 11 outfielders.

There is an important, but rarely discussed factor which dramatically affects which of these players might be most advantageously selected by another organization during the draft.

Only the players assigned to the 38-man Triple-A Memphis reserve list for protection will be eligible for the major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft at a cost of $50,000. If selected, those players would have to remain on the new club's 25-man active major league roster the entire 2011 season or be offered back to the Cardinals at half the purchase price.

There was not room for all 41 players on the Memphis roster, so the Cardinals had to make some tradeoffs as to which players they wanted to make less painful for another club to take.

Here is the breakdown of available players by their assigned minor league rosters for the draft. This is in contrast to where they actually finished the 2010 season, denoted on the right. Eight of the 40 were also Rule 5-eligible last year and obviously were not selected.

Memphis roster (34)  Pos DOB   Draft yr/rd 2010 Prev R5
Domnit Bolivar  SS  5/12/1989    PB Y
Brian Broderick RHS  9/1/1986 2007 21 Spr
Andrew Brown IF/OF 9/10/1984 2007 18 Spr
Juan Castillo C  12/13/1989 QC
Ivan Castro  C  11/17/1987    QC Y
Amaury Cazana  OF  9/2/1978 2006 18  Mem Y
Luis De La Cruz C  5/6/1989 Spr
Ramon Delgado RHR 9/3/1986 2007 41 Spr
Nick Derba C  9/9/1985 2007 30 Spr
Brandon Dickson  RHS  11/3/1984    Mem Y
Thomas Eager RHR 8/12/1985 2007 5 Spr
Chuckie Fick RHR 11/20/1985 2007 15 Mem
Jose Garcia 2B  2/11/1988 Spr
Tyler Henley OF  6/10/1985 2007 8 Spr
Steven Hill C  3/14/1985 2007 13 StL
Daryl Jones OF  6/25/1987 2007 3 Spr
Edgar Lara OF  3/2/1989 QC
Jose Martinez  2B  1/24/1986    GCL Y
David Medina 1B 1/1/1989 JC
Casey Mulligan RHR 10/5/1987 2006 22 PB
Tyler Norrick LHR 9/27/1983 2006 6 Mem
Adam Ottavino RHS  11/22/1985 2006 1 StL
Pete Parise RHR 12/5/1984 Mem
Tommy Pham OF  3/8/1988 2006 16 Spr
Jose Rada  RHS  4/13/1988    QC Y
Jim Rapoport  OF  6/25/1985 2006 35  Mem Y
Cory Rauschenberger RHR 7/31/1984 2005 35 PB
Shane Robinson OF 10/31/1984 2006 5 Mem
Ryde Rodriguez OF  2/2/1988 PB
Jorge Rondon RHS  9/16/1988 QC
Rainel Rosario OF  3/29/1989 QC
Romulo Ruiz 3B  11/30/1989 JC
Donovan Solano  SS  12/17/1987    Mem Y
Nick Stavinoha OF  5/3/1982 2005 7 StL
Springfield roster (5)  Pos DOB   Draft yr/rd 2010 Prev R5
Hector Cardenas  LHS  12/14/1986    QC
Antonio DeJesus  OF  1/25/1986 2007 16 Spr
Joel Pichardo  RHR 2/20/1988 PB
Miguel Tapia  RHR 2/6/1988    PB
Kleininger Teran  3B 7/23/1989    JC
Palm Beach (1)  Pos DOB   Draft yr/rd 2010 Prev R5
Roberto Espinoza C 3/8/1989 PB
Batavia roster (1)  Pos DOB   Draft yr/rd 2010 Prev R5
Houston Summers  RHR 8/20/1987 Bat

19 of the 41 were drafted by St. Louis from between 2005 and 2007 with the other 22 having been free agents.

Daryl Jones
Those players that were a part of the Cardinals' recent moves are the Memphis-rostered ones most likely to be appealing targets for other organizations. Specifically, I see former first-rounder Adam Ottavino and 2008 organizational Player of the Year, outfielder Daryl Jones, as perhaps being most at risk to be selected.

However, remember that all four players recently outrighted (the previous two plus Nick Stavinoha and Steven Hill) could have been claimed off waivers by any one of the 29 other organizations, but were not. As such, to instead take them in December under the more-restrictive Rule 5 guidelines after having just passed on them would seem less likely.

Another interesting factor is the number of Single-A and short-season players added to the Memphis roster for Rule 5 protection purposes. This is an indication of the expansion of the Latin American pipeline. Six finished the season with Quad Cities, including outfielders Edgar Lara and Rainel Rosario, along with cornermen David Medina and Romulo Ruiz from all the way down at Johnson City.

Seven of the 41 eligible players have been stationed on the Double-A Springfield roster or lower. These players will cost less for another organization to select, $12,000 and $4,000 respectively. Most importantly, these players do not have to be added to the major league roster if taken in the Rule 5.

Effectively, these players do not have to the returned even if they are later demoted so there is very little risk in another organization taking them.

Antonio DeJesus
A recent example is Haerther. Two years ago, the Cardinals placed him on the Springfield reserve roster. He was then taken by Toronto in the Triple-A phase of the 2008 Rule 5 Draft and as a result, was essentially gone forever from the Cardinals organization.

Any of the seven players at Springfield and lower are clearly fair game. One name that stands out is Double-A outfielder Antonio DeJesus, taken in the 16th round in 2007. Another is lefty Hector Cardenas, a promising prospect before missing 2010 due to Tommy John surgery.

As a footnote, any signings of players to minor league contracts between now and the Rule 5 draft will require their addition to the eligible rosters. Update: The Cardinals' signing of left-handed pitcher Raul Valdes on November 23 adds a 42nd player to their Rule 5-eligible list.

Note: This article was updated from the original as Shane Robinson was inadvertently omitted initially.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Selected TCN content appears at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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