The Rule 5 draft occurs every year at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings, usually on the last day of the meetings. The purpose of the Rule 5 draft is to prevent teams from stockpiling talent in their minor league system, while other teams would be willing to have that talent on their major league roster. The draft is called the "Rule 5" draft, because it is the fifth rule in The Official Professional Baseball Rules Book.

Description


The draft order is based on a team's win/loss record from the previous regular season. If a player is selected in the Rule 5 draft, he must be added to the new team's 40-man roster. Teams without an open spot on the 40-man roster are unable to participate in the draft. There are deadlines for all teams to set their 40-man rosters, and to create space on their 40-man rosters to make a selection. See 2009 Dates below. Any player not on his team's 40-man roster at the time of the Rule 5 draft is eligible to be selected by another team, provided that this player meets the eligibility requirements. See Selection Eligibility below.

The Rules

When a team selects a player in the Rule 5 draft, that team must keep the player on their 25-man roster the entire season after the draft. The player may not be optioned or designated to the minors. The selecting team may, at any time, waive the selected player. If the player clears waivers, he must be offered back to the original team. After a Rule 5 draftee spends an entire season on his new team's 25-man roster, his Rule 5 status is removed, and he is eligible to be optioned or designated for assignment by the selecting team.

In order to prevent abuse, the rule states that players must be active for at least 90 days in the season. This avoids teams drafting a player and placing that player on the disabled list for the majority of the season. If a player is not active for at least 90 days in the season following his Rule 5 selection, he must make up those days the following season. For example, if a player is selected in the 2008 Rule 5 draft, and is active for only 80 days in the 2009 season, he must remain on the 25-man roster for the 2010 season, and spend 10 more days on the active roster in order to remove his Rule 5 eligibility.

Any player selected in the Rule 5 draft may be traded to another team, although the new team must follow the same rules and keep the player on the 25-man roster. If a player is waived, another team may claim him, but once again, the new team must follow the same rules. If a new team does not want to keep the player on their 25-man roster for the remainder of the season, that player must be offered back to the team of which he was a member when chosen in the draft.

Selection Eligibility

Players are eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft if they are not on their major league organization's 40-man roster, and:

- were signed at age 19 or older and have been in the organization for four years; or
- were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in the organization for five years.

The signing date is the date that the player was actually signed, and not the date the player was drafted in to the organization. The exemption periods changed in 2006 to four and five years as part of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Previously, players were eligible after their third or fourth Rule 5 draft.

Cost

Each Rule 5 draft selection costs the selecting team $50,000. If the selecting team decides they don't want to keep the Rule 5 draftee on their 25-man roster all season, and the draftee clears waivers, the claiming team must offer the draftee back to the original team for $25,000. Organizations may also draft players from AA or lower to play for their AAA affiliates, for a price of $12,000 per draftee, and may draft players from A level teams or lower to play for their AA afiliates, for a price of $4,000 per draftee.

Notable Rule 5 Draftees


  • George Bell
  • Paul Blair
  • Bobby Bonilla
  • Roberto Clemente
  • Jody Davis
  • Darrell Evans
  • Kelly Gruber
  • Josh Hamilton
  • Willie Hern├índez
  • Dave Hollins
  • John Hudek
  • Dave May
  • Mike Morgan
  • Jeff Nelson
  • Scott Podsednik
  • Bip Roberts
  • Johan Santana
  • Joakim Soria
  • Manny Trillo
  • Derrick Turnbow
  • Dan Uggla
  • Shane Victorino

Recent Pittsburgh Pirates Rule 5 History


2008

  • Selected Donald Veal from the Chicago Cubs with the fourth pick. Veal remained on the 25-man roster the entire 2009 season.
  • The Detroit Tigers selected Kyle Bloom from the Pirates with the eighth pick in the draft, but returned Bloom on March 29, 2009.
  • Selected Andres Santos, Rafael Quintero, and Gerardo Esparza in the AAA phase of the draft.

2007

  • Selected Evan Meek from the Tampa Bay Rays with the second pick. Meek was returned to Tampa Bay in May 2008, but the Pirates negotiated a deal to retain his rights.
  • Selected Josh Hill, Mauricio Mendez, and Corey Hamman in the AAA phase of the draft.
  • The Florida Marlins selected Smelin Perez from the Pirates in the AAA phase of the draft.
  • The Texas Rangers selected Clayton Hamilton from the Pirates in the AAA phase of the draft.
  • Selected Rafael Cruz Chavez in the AA phase of the draft.

2006

  • Selected Sean White from the Atlanta Braves with the fourth pick. Later traded White to the Seattle Mariners for cash considerations.
  • Selected Moises Robles in the AAA phase of the draft.
  • The Milwaukee Brewers selected Michael Carlin from the Pirates in the AAA phase of the draft.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals selected Omar Falcon from the Pirates in the AAA phase of the draft.
  • Selected Kevin Cave in the AA phase of the draft.

2005

  • Selected Victor Santos from the Kansas City Royals with the fourth pick.
  • Selected Jeff Cook, Henry Cabrera, and Richard Suomi in the AAA phase of the draft.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays selected Maiko Loyola from the Pirates in the AAA phase of the draft.
  • Selected Brad Correll in the AA phase of the draft.

The 2003 Fiasco

Five of the first six selections in the 2003 Rule 5 draft were Pittsburgh Pirates prospects. Those players were:
  • Chris Shelton
  • Rich Thompson
  • Frank Brooks
  • Jeff Bennett
  • Jose Bautista

The Pirates entered the draft with three openings on their 40-man roster. They also passed on selecting a player in the Rule 5 draft. The result of five players being selected with the first six picks, and the Pirates passing on making a selection of their own, brought laughter from the back of the room. Rich Thompson and Frank Brooks were returned to the Pirates. The Pirates got Jose Bautista back in a trade that sent out Kris Benson and Jeff Keppinger, and brought back Ty Wigginton, Matt Peterson, and Bautista.

Chris Shelton remained with the Detroit Tigers the entire season, getting off to a hot start before cooling off and eventually washing out. Jeff Bennett was a success in the Milwaukee bullpen, and has posted a few more strong seasons in relief in the majors. Jose Bautista ended up being the best of the bunch, emerging as a below-average to average starting third baseman in the majors.

Roberto Clemente

The most famous Rule 5 draftee, and the only Rule 5 draftee to end up in the Hall of Fame, was Roberto Clemente. Clemente was selected by the Pirates from the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1954 Rule 5 draft. The Dodgers tried to hide Clemente in their minor league system by sitting him on the bench when a scout from another team was in attendance. The Pirates saw through that and selected him with the first pick the following season.

2009 Dates


  • November 20, 2009: All teams must set their 40-man rosters. Any player left off his team's 40-man roster is eligible to be selected by another team, provided he meets the eligibility requirements.
  • December 8, 2009: Deadline for a team to clear space on the 40-man roster in order to be eligible to select a player in the Rule 5 draft.
  • December 10, 2009: Major League Rule 5 Draft -- Winter Meetings, Indianapolis