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The Rule V Implications of Jermaine Mitchell’s Addition to the 40-Man

November 19, 2011


Jermaine Mitchell was added today to the 40-man roster because today was the last day one could be added to the 40-man roster and be protected from next month’s Rule V Draft. How does the draft work? Baseball America provides this very simple refresher course,

“Major league teams must protect players on their 40-man rosters within three or four years of their original signing. Those left unprotected are available to other teams as Rule 5 picks.

Players who were 18 or younger on June 5 preceding the signing of their first contract must be protected after four minor league seasons. Players 19 and older must be protected after three seasons.

But here’s the kicker: To prevent teams from drafting players willy-nilly, each Rule 5 pick must be kept in the major leagues the entire following season or be offered back to his former team for half of the $50,000 selection price. Few players are ready for such a jump, so only about 10-15 get picked each year. Fewer still last the whole season in the big leagues.”

Therefore the draft eligible Jermaine Mitchell‘s addition to the 40-man roster protects him. At the same time today the A’s also outrighted the two players they claimed on waivers from San Diego recently, outfielder Cedric Hunter and pitcher Evan Scribner to Sacramento meaning the A’s have one vacant spot on the 40-man roster or in other words have (at least for now) the freedom to make one Rule V selection. The A’s last made a selection in the Rule V in 2009 when they selected Bobby Cassevah from the Angels, returning him several months later in Spring Training. The last Rule V selection by the A’s to actually stick around for a year was Jay Marshall selected in the 2006 draft from the Chicago White Sox.

Mitchell, who just turned 27, had a good season last year posting a .332/.440/.530 slash line between stops in Midland and Sacramento. He figures to potentially be in the mix for the A’s center field job which is currently vacant with Oakland brass hoping that he is simply a late bloomer, despite the fact that Oakland carries several other Rule V draftees on the 40-man to protect them, namely Sean Doolittle and Pedro Figueroa. However the implications to the Rule V draft of the move are significant because of one unprotected player who could very well be lost, Travis Banwart.

Banwart had an OK season in Sacramento in 2011 with a 4.49 FIP and a 4.63 ERA. He did however have some solid peripherals (7.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9) with the home run ball (1.3 HR/9) in the homer happy Pacific Coast League really being the thorn in his side. Banwart will begin the 2012 season as a 26 year old but would be a potential nice backup due to injuries, in fact this year I was surprised the A’s went with Graham Godfrey instead of Banwart when the rotation became decimated by injury.

Of course one must temper one’s concerns because with the rule requiring players stay with the team for the full duration of a year, the likelihood is that even if a player or players are selected they most likely will find themselves back in Oakland’s possession before too long.

Other news on the minor-league front, Susan Slusser in the A’s Drumbeat covered the above topics but also reported yesterday that, the A’s have made two minor-league signings: Jeff Fiorentino and Jim Miller. Fiorentino may be familiar to A’s fans as he was a member of the club in 2008 for a whole two games and has a perfect 1.000 batting average (1-for-1) as an Oakland Athletic. He has had 58 career games, mostly with the Baltimore Orioles and is an outfielder worth 0.7 WAR over his short career. Miller meanwhile pitched in six games last year for the Rockies, his other MLB experience coming in 2008 with the Orioles. In his 14 2/3 innings of MLB work over his career, he has posted 8.0 K/9, 5.5 BB/9 and has yet to surrender a home run earning him a 1.84 ERA and 3.35 FIP all valued at 0.2 WAR.


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