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White Sox: The 40-Man Crunch and the Rule 5 Draft

The Rule 5 Draft is less known by fans of the game, but the White Sox have some roster crunching to do before it rolls around next month.

One of the less exciting and almost equally lesser known parts of the Major League Baseball offseason is the process of setting a teams 40-Man roster by a deadline in order to protect qualifying prospects from being drafted in the Rule 5 Draft. This year’s deadline is Monday, November 20.

Each team must set their 40-Man roster by that date in order to have those players protected from the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place at the winter meetings. Players who were signed when they were 19 or older and have played in professional baseball for four years are eligible, as are players who were signed at 18 and have played for five years.

Over the last few years some notable Rule 5 Picks include Odubel Herrera, Dylan Covey, and Delino DeShields Jr. The guideline for the draft is that the player is not on the 40 man roster. If the team who drafts the player keeps the player on their active 25-Man roster (or disabled list) for the duration of the ensuing season, then the contract now fully belongs to the team who drafted him. If he does not remain on the active roster for the entirety of the ensuing season, he must be offered back to the team who he was drafted from for $25,000 dollars. If the former team declines, the team that drafted that player can waive him.

For rebuilding teams, it can be one of the more interesting parts of the rebuild. Teams can pick up someone and hope to strike gold, but at the same time, they have to protect their own players to make sure they don’t lose out a strong player for their future.

As of now, the White Sox 40-Man roster stands at 36. 18 pitchers, two catchers, five infielders, ten outfielders, and one designated hitter. Noteworthy White Sox players who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year include Eloy Jimenez, Micker Adolfo, Tito Polo, Casey Gillaspie, and Jordan Guerrero. Outside of Jimenez, the most likely to be targeted would be possible bullpen arms like Guerrero, because they can be “hidden” in bullpens like the White Sox did with Dylan Covey for part of last year.

In order to protect all of the players they will need to protect, The White Sox will probably need to open up some spots on the 40 man roster. Some possible options for the White Sox would be to remove from the 40-Man: One of Alen Hanson or Tyler Saladino, two of Chris Beck, Gregory Infante, Danny Farquhar, and Al Alburquerque. These guys could very well be major-league players but they don’t have much upside for the White Sox compared to who they can protect.

So with the removal of Hanson, Beck and Farquhar (or any combination of the the six players) it brings the 40 man roster to 33, allowing the White Sox to add Jimenez, Adolfo, Gillaspie, Guerrero, Brian Clark, Ian Clarkin and Tito Polo. The White Sox traded for four of these players in the past 365 days, and don’t want to lose out on any of them in this draft.

Jake Peter may get selected and be a good utility guy for a team, but he isn’t likely to be a superstar by any means. There could be a surprise of a pitcher that a team will stash away, but nobody worth taking a spot on the 40-Man at this time outside of the aforementioned players. The White Sox will have lots of time to think about who they might take with the 4th pick in the Rule 5 draft, which occurs on December 15 at the Winter Meetings.


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