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|
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|
|Brian Broderick||RHS||9/1/1986||2007 21||Spr|
|Andrew Brown||IF/OF||9/10/1984||2007 18||Spr|
|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|
|Thomas Eager||RHR||8/12/1985||2007 5||Spr|
|Chuckie Fick||RHR||11/20/1985||2007 15||Mem|
|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|
|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|
|Tommy Pham||OF||3/8/1988||2006 16||Spr|
|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|
|Nick Stavinoha||OF||5/3/1982||2005 7||StL|
|Springfield roster (5)||Pos||DOB||Draft yr/rd||2010||Prev R5|
|Antonio DeJesus||OF||1/25/1986||2007 16||Spr|
|Palm Beach (1)||Pos||DOB||Draft yr/rd||2010||Prev R5|
|Batavia roster (1)||Pos||DOB||Draft yr/rd||2010||Prev R5|
19 of the 41 were drafted by St. Louis from between 2005 and 2007 with the other 22 having been free agents.
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.
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 email@example.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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