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White Sox Minor League Update: March 4

The cancellation of the Rule 5 draft would affect every minor leaguer.

Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics
Dylan Covey would not have pitched for the White Sox had there not been a Rule 5 draft. Quit applauding that alternate reality, you smart alecks.
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Rule 5 draft was scheduled to occur in December — well, the major league portion of it, anyway. The minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft went as planned, but because the owners locked out the players, the major league phase has not.

To make a very confusing process sound as simple as possible: Teams can select eligible players on other clubs and add them to their 26-man roster (technically, the 40-man, but if the selected player doesn’t stay on the active roster all season, he could be returned to their original team). The draft could not happen during a lockout, because each of the players selected would become a major leaguer, and join the MLBPA.

What MLB is now arguing is that too much time has passed to hold the Rule 5 draft, and it would mess up finances and team outlook. What Jesse Dougherty and JJ Cooper are reporting and advising above is the players’ side. The players drafted could make their dream come true by making the majors, and get a bigger paycheck while they are at it. Here is a list of the top players who are Rule 5 eligible in the White Sox organization:

  • Laz Rivera
  • Carlos Pérez
  • Luis Mieses
  • Kade McClure
  • Andrew Pérez

As you can see, it is not really the best of the bunch for the White Sox — or in Luis Mieses case, players who are not ready for the majors, at all. However, maybe a rebuilding team would want to try out McClure, see how he looks. Though odds are it won’t work out, McClure could say he was a major leaguer. As Cooper said in his tweet, it also forces teams to commit to putting guys on the 40-man roster to keep than in the organization. Quite frankly, it is the reason why Micker Adolfo is still with the White Sox — even though he only recently made it to Triple-A — and not in Pittsburgh.

The other side, and something more ominous, is that MLB could turning the Rule 5 draft into a bargaining chip. Again, the players affected are not in the MLBPA, though if drafted they would be. If MLB wants to get rid of it this year, why would they not try to get rid of it every year? Rosenthal’s article does not mention abolishing the Rule 5 draft as a possibility, but it could become a bargaining chip, because everything is. Odds should be that the Rule 5 remains, even if it is cancelled this year, because it is good for the game overall. (And not just for players; the Adolfo-to-Pittsburgh scenario could easily have happened in 2020, and definitely in last year’s postponed Rule 5, had he not been on the 40-man. It’s a low-cost, low-risk way for smaller-market, or super-smart, teams to add low-cost contributors to their rosters.)

Just for kicks, here are some of the White Sox Rule 5 picks in the 21st Century:

  • Dylan Covey
  • Adrian Nieto
  • Jason Grilli

And ... some guys the White Sox lost

  • Blake Smith
  • Jay Marshall
  • Fabio Castro

Again, these guys are not good to say the least, but they were given a shot at least because of the existence of the Rule 5 draft.