The Milwaukee Brewers selected four players in today’s Rule 5 Draft at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee. The team selected two players in the Major League phase. The Brewers did not lose a player in the Rule 5 Draft.
In addition, the team acquired 3B/OF Garin Cecchini from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for cash considerations. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.
Cecchini, 24, spent most of the 2015 season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he batted .213 with 7 HR and 28 RBI in 117 games. The left-handed batter spent time defensively in left field, first base and third base at Pawtucket. Cecchini, who made his Major League debut with Boston in 2014, appeared in two games with the Red Sox in 2015. He has batted .229 (8-for-35) with 1 HR and 4 RBI in 13 career Major League games, including seven starts at third base. Cecchini was designated for assignment by Boston on December 4, 2015.
Cecchini (pronounced “chick-KEE-nee”) was selected by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Over five minor-league seasons, Cecchini owns a .279 batting average with 28 HR and 231 RBI in 510 games. He was an All-Star in each of his first three seasons in the minors (New York-Penn League with Class-A Lowell in 2011; South Atlantic League with Class-A Greenville in 2012 and Carolina League with Class-A Salem in 2013). He participated in the 2013 MLB All-Star Futures Game for the U.S. Team at Citi Field.
Second baseman Colin Walsh was selected in the first round (fifth overall) of the Major League phase off the Triple-A Nashville roster of the Oakland Athletics. Walsh, 26, batted .302 with 39 doubles, 13 HR, 49 RBI and 124 walks in 134 games at Double-A Midland in 2015. Walsh, a switch hitter, played at Stanford University and was originally selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 13th round of the 2010 First-Year Draft. He signed as a minor-league free agent with Oakland on April 10, 2014.
Right-handed pitcher Zack Jones was selected in the second round of the Major League phase off the Triple-A Rochester of the Minnesota Twins. Jones, 25, went 5-4 with a 4.18 ERA in 45 relief appearances between Class-A Fort Myers and Double-A Chattanooga this past season. Jones played at San Jose State and was originally drafted by Minnesota in the fourth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
Left-handed pitcher Mitch Lambson was selected in the first round of the Triple-A phase off the Double-A Mississippi roster of the Atlanta Braves. Lambson, 25, appeared with four teams between the Houston Astros organization and the Braves organization in 2015. He compiled a 3-2 record with a 2.35 ERA in 40 relief appearances between Double-A Corpus Christi, Triple-A Fresno, Triple-A Gwinnett and Double-A Mississippi in 2015. He was traded from the Astros to the Braves organization on July 6, 2015. In five minor-league seasons, Lambson owns a 20-14 record with a 2.72 ERA in 166 relief appearances. He was originally selected by the Astros in the 19th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
Right-handed pitcher Kender Villegas was selected in the second round of the Triple-A phase off the Double-A Springfield roster of the St. Louis Cardinals. Villegas, 22, appeared in 30 games (1 start) and compiled a 3-4 record with a 4.03 ERA across three levels in the Cardinals organization (Class-A Palm Beach, Class-A Peoria and Class-A State College in 2015). He was originally signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as a non-drafted free-agent on May 13, 2010.
The Brewers’ 40-man roster currently stands at 37 with the additions of Cecchini, Jones and Walsh.
Today is the deadline to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the annual Rule V Draft.
That draft takes place at the Winter Meetings and was originally implemented with the idea of getting players an opportunity that they might otherwise not receive. The basics that one needs to know are that if a player is selected by another club, that player must be rostered at the MLB level for the entirety of the next season and be “active” for at least 90 days. Otherwise the player must be offered back to his original organization.
From there, it gets a little more complicated including upfront cost, roster construction, option years, salary differential, etc. The point though is that eligible players who would be of interest to other clubs need to be protected from the draft. The only way to do that is to add the player to the 40-man roster.
Not every minor leaguer is eligible though. To be eligible for the Rule V Draft a player must have played in professional (affiliated) baseball for at least four full seasons if he was signed at age 19 or older, and five full seasons if signed at 18 or younger.
The Brewers have several eligible players this year who warranted consideration for protection, but at most four open roster spots with which to protect. Last year they protected more than that and possibly adding Corey Hart add a free agent would mean someone previously protected may eventually wind up back off the roster the end. Furthermore, the group of eligible players in full could make up their own 40-man roster still have two on the outside looking in.
But those most likely seriously considered include Hunter Morris, Jason Rogers, Brooks Hall, Kyle Heckathorn, Kevin Shackelford, and Tyler Cravy.
Any of those aren’t added today are certainly names to look for on December 15th as teams make selections in the Rule V Draft. Others could be lost as well, especially if they’re able to be taken in the minor league portions of the draft like Eric Farris last year.
I have learned that the Brewers officials have had their discussions and made their arguments as to why each player should be protected. The final decision is, as it should be, now in general manager Doug Melvin’s hands.
We’ll have coverage for you whenever official word comes down. Decisions are due to the league office before the end of the day, or 11pm CST.
***BREAKING: A source informed me that Jason Rogers will be added to the 40-man roster today.***
***BREAKING PART TWO: A source confirmed that Hunter Morris will also be added to the 40-man roster, as widely expected.***
The Rule V Draft (long live the Roman numeral!) took place this morning in Nashville on the fourth day of the 2012 Winter Meetings.
There are three portions of the draft. MLB, AAA, and AA. If a player is taken in a particular portion of the draft, the player must then stick at that level for the balance of the 2013 season or be offered back to their original team.
In the Major League portion of the draft, the Milwaukee Brewers chose to pass with their selection. Doug Melvin had indicated that they were interested in one player but didn’t expect that player to still be available to select when it was their turn to pick. No one in the Brewers organization was selected by another organization during the MLB portion either.
The Triple-A portion got underway and the Seattle Mariners (led by Jack Zduriencik, of course) chose Eric Farris out of the Brewers organization. Farris has had a couple of brief turns with the Brewers but is primarily a second baseman and is blocked as a result in Milwaukee. The Brewers worked it out with Farris’ agent after Farris was outrighted off of the 40-man roster this fall to assign him to the Double-A roster making it easier for a team to select Farris and give him an opportunity. Had the Brewers assigned Farris to Triple-A Nashville, a team would have had to take him in the MLB portion.
It’s just another example of the Brewers organization doing right by its players. They didn’t have to give Farris that opportunity. But along with the fact that they prefer to play top prospect Scooter Gennett at 2B in Nashville in 2013, they realized that Farris deserved an opportunity and it wasn’t going to come here.
Kudos to Melvin, Zack Minasian & Dick Groch for their decision despite it resulting in the loss of one of my favorite Brewers minor leaguers to root for.
***UPDATE: Eric Farris tweeted out a message following his selection by Seattle.***
Thank you to the Brewers and their fans 4 the love andoverwhelming support throughout my career! Lookin forward to the future w/ #Seattle
— Eric Farris (@eRoc86) December 6, 2012