The MLB lockout not only halted free agency and potential trades, but it also led to only the Minor League phase of the annual Rule 5 Draft being held.
Minor Leaguers are not part of the MLB Players Association, and thus were able to be selected in the draft and are also free to sign with teams. That’s impacted the Dodgers in the form of Matt Davidson returning to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Jesus Vargas joining the New York Mets.
L.A. also lost Nelfri Contreras and Carlos Santiago in the Rule 5 Draft. The organization did make three selections: Kekai Rios, Carson Fulmer and Jon Duplantier, with the latter two being former first-round picks in the MLB Draft.
While it remains unknown when the lockout will come to an end, it’s anticipated the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft will be held once a new collective bargaining agreement is in place, according to JJ Cooper of Baseball America:
And I'm hearing that the MLB Rule 5 draft is expected to take place soon after whenever the lockout ends/new CBA is agreed to. So two Rule 5 drafts, one offseason. Here we go.#Rule5Fever https://t.co/afF9XGVlFq
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) December 8, 2021
Players who were signed at age 19 or older and have been in professional baseball for four years are eligible to be taken in the annual Rule 5 Draft. So too are those who were signed at 18 or younger and have played five years.
If selected, a player must remain on the active roster or Major League injured list for the entirety of the ensuing season. If not, they are made available via waivers and if unclaimed, must be offered back to their original team.
That rule does not apply to the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, as players taken in those rounds can be placed on any roster in the farm system.
Teams pay $100,000 for selections made in the Major League portion, and $24,500 for picks in the Minor League rounds.
Last month the Dodgers added Jacob Amaya, Jorbit Vivas, Eddys Leonard, Michael Grove and James Outman to their 40-man roster ahead of the deadline to do so.
Who else could Dodgers have protected for Rule 5 Draft?
Along with the five who were selected, the Dodgers held the option to add Leonel Valera, Gus Varland, Robinson Ortiz, Guillermo Zuniga, Justin Yurchak, Devin Mann, Jeren Kendall and Omar Estevez, among others.
Last year the Dodgers protected Gerardo Carrillo, Andre Jackson, Edwin Uceta and Zach Reks. Jackson, Reks and Uceta then went on to make their respective MLB debuts during the 2021 season. Though, Uceta was designated for assignment during the postseason and now is with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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