Rule 5: Colorado selected Matt White from the Indians
Rule 5: St. Louis selected Hector Luna from the Indians
Rule 5: Houston selected Willy Taveras from the Indians
Rule 5: Colorado selected Luis Gonzalez from the Indians
Rule 5: Detroit selected Lino Urdaneta from the Indians
Rule 5 (AAA): New York (NL) selected Lance Caraccioli from the Indians
Rule 5 (AAA): Kansas City selected Honeudis Pereyra from the Indians
Rule 5 (AAA): Philadelphia selected Miguel Quintana from the Indians
Rule 5 (AAA): San Diego selected Ignacio Montano from the Indians
Rule 5 (AAA): Cleveland selected Michael West from Milwaukee
Rule 5 Recap
The Indians lost 9 players from their minor-league system today, and 5 in the major-league section of the Rule 5 Draft. Only the Pirates lost as many. While you hate to lose this many players, it shows the type of system the Indians have. Each of the players drafted had multiple young players ahead of them on the depth chart.
Let's take an in-depth view of the players lost (for now) in the major-league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Remember, each of these players has to stay on the clubs' 25-man roster for the entire season to keep him.
1) IF Luis Gonzalez - drafted by Colorado
Probably the best bet to stay with the team that drafted him. He can play multiple positions, won't be that overpowered at the plate, and he played most of the year in AA, so a jump to the majors isn't too far-fetched. I think this is nice pick by Colorado, as they may fill a need for $350,000 ($50,000 + the minimum). Too often, clubs go for toolsy players (see below) that are really far from being ready and neglect players that are a bit older and don't much of an upside but could realistically contribute at the major-league level.
Chances of being returned: 25%
2) LHP Matt White - drafted by Colorado
Again, a nice pick by the Rockies. White was picked last year by the Red Sox, was traded to the Mariners, and eventually returned to the Indians about half-way through the season. After returning to Buffalo, he pitched well. He could contribute as a LOOGY, especially at Coors Canaveral. The Indians picked up Cliff Bartosh, who has historically put up better numbers than White, as well as Carl Sadler, who's pitched well in the Dominican Leagues. Both Bartosh and Sadler have better upside than White, and both can be optioned down next year, something the Rockies will not have the luxury of doing.
Chances of being returned: 50%
3) SS Hector Luna - drafted by St. Louis
Also drafted last year, Luna has offensive potential and speed, which made him so attractive to teams. The Cardinals will try to make him the second utility infielder, but can the Cardinals, who are expected to contend next, afford to essentially have a 24-man roster all year? Luna spent the entire year at Akron after being returned by Tampa Bay before Spring Training, so he's a more viable offensive player now. But the track record of Rule 5 picks staying on a playoff (or quasi-playoff) team isn't good.
Chances of being returned: 75%
4) RHP Lino Urdaneta - drafted by Detroit
Urdaneta, who signed a minor-league contract a couple of weeks ago, was picked almost entirely based on his performace in Venezuela league. His minor-league stats have been average at best, and although the Tigers are team who will probably keep one of their picks, Urdaneta is not likely to be one of them.
Chances of being returned: 95%
5) OF Willy Taveras - drafted by Houston
The combination of the rawness of Taveras and the expected contention of the Astros make it an extreme longshot for Taveras to stick around past Spring Training, let alone the entire season. As of now, all Taveras can provide at the major-league level is speed. I just don't see the Astros, especially down the stretch, keeping a one-dimensional player on their roster.
Chances of being returned: 99%
I'm not going to touch on the minor-league portion, as most of these players are roster-fillers. Unlike the major-league portion, most of the players selected stay with in the drafting teams' organization.
Free Agency Update
1) Tony Graffanino has signed a two-year contract with the Kansas City Royals. He'll be platooned with Desi Relaford. Obviously the sticking point was the length of the contract.
2) Todd Walker will reportedly sign a two-year contract with the Texas Rangers in the wake of an expected Alex Rodriguez deal. Again, the length of the contract played a huge role in Walker's decision. Likewise, Shapiro is sticking to only offering a one-year contract, which I have absolutely no problem with. For a time, the Indians were the frontrunners in landing Walker, as all the other contenders wanted him to switch positions.