Cincinnati Reds Could Upgrade Through Rule 5 Draft

With two spots open on the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster, the Reds could be looking to upgrade their team through the Rule 5 Draft. The draft is held on the final day of the Winter Meetings and to some has zero impact on their club, but for others, it can be a game changer. Most teams search for backup catchers, relief help, a bat off the bench or unprotected prospects.

Here’s how it works. Any player on a team’s 40-man roster is protected, along with players signed at age 18 (for five seasons) and age 19 (for four seasons). Aside from those conditions, a player can be selected for the pocket change price of $50,000. The team who selects the player must keep him on their Major League roster for the entire season or face a penalty.

Reds fan’s may remember a gentleman by the name of Josh Hamilton who was selected by the Cubs, but then traded to the Reds in the draft. Other famous Rule 5 Draft selectees that made an immediate impact may surprise you: Shane Victorino, Dan Uggla, Darren O’Day, Evereth Cabrera and Johan Santana. Last season the Rangers selected Delino DeShields Jr, who became a key player by the end of the season. With the Redlegs entering a full on rebuilding process, the Rule 5 Draft could get them to where they want to be faster and cheaper. Here of a couple options that fit what the Reds need.

Tyler Goedell, OF TB Rays

Wasting no time throwing out my favorite possibility for the Reds. Tyler Goedell is a former 1st round selection in the 2011 draft by the Rays. The outfielder posted his best numbers yet with his bat last season hitting .279 with 12 home runs and 72 RBIs for the Montgomery Biscuits. Side note: The Biscuits mascot is a biscuit with a stick of butter as a tongue. That just can’t be beat! Getting back on track, Goedell also swiped 28 bags last year and has stolen at least 30 two other times in his career. The only holdup is he has never gone past AA. He could be a great option should the Reds move Jay Bruce.

Jacob Wilson, 2B, 3B, OF SL Cardinals

What Wilson lacks with his bat, he makes up for in his ability to play several positions at above average defense. Skip Shumaker is a free agent and the Reds will be looking to fill his utility roll sooner rather than later. Wilson is a good option at age 25. He is not raw anymore and understands his strengths and weaknesses. He has gone from High A to AAA the last two seasons, but with the Cards already loaded minor league system, they have nowhere to put him. Wilson hit 18 home runs last year between AA and AAA and that’s no joke. The 93 K’s didn’t help, but there is a reason these guys are left unprotected in the draft.

Jake Cave, OF NY Yankees

The fact the Yankees left Cave unprotected was sort of shocking. New York drafted him in the sixth round of the 2011 draft and all he has done is hit at every level. After hitting .304 in Tampa (A) in 2014, Cave went through AA and AAA in 2015. The outfielder finished last season collecting 11 hits in his final seven games at Scranton (AAA). He is a lifetime .285 hitter, but does not project as a power hitter, even in the Great American Small Park. Plus speed and plus defensive makes him enticing as a fourth outfielder for the Reds.

Kyle Drabek, SP AZ Diamondbacks

This is a name some people may be familiar with. Talk about a fall from grace. Son of former 1990 Cy Young Award winner, Doug Drabek, Kyle was projected to be even better. An injury plagued career has left this former top prospect searching for a second chance. Drabek posted a 2.79 ERA last year with AAA Charlotte in 90 innings. The fact that he has big league experience make him an easy target for the Reds who are searching for a veteran presence in their rotation. Considering all of the possibilities, Drabek makes the most sense. The fastball may not be what it once was, but Bryan Price the pitching guru, could bring his career back from the dead.

Cincinnati will select after the Philadelphia Phillies this year as the order is determined by the record from the previous season. Philly has been linked to several players including Goedell. Although most years no one pays attention to the Rule 5 Draft, this year may be different. If the Reds or any team you follow make a pick, that player will have an immediate impact on the 2016 season.