Rangers Protect Russell Wilson In Rule 5 Draft

In this silly season, it was best to check to see if this came from a fake account. Unfortunately, it didn’t:

I thought maybe Rosenthal meant Russell Martin, even though he just signed with the Blue Jays. But, no, the Rangers are using a spot to protect Russell Wilson, the Seahawks quarterback who the Rangers – get this – took in last year’s Rule 5 draft. They did so because “his work ethic and makeup are examples of what club wants from their minor leaguers.”

So how does this work? Wilson obviously isn’t on the Rangers’ 40-man roster, but the team is protecting him in the Triple A portion of the draft, which works like so:

There are also Triple-A and Double-A phases to the Rule 5 Draft. Players put on the Triple-A reserve list cost the selecting team $12,000, and players put on the Double-A reserve list cost the selecting team $4,000.

So is Wilson taking a spot potentially belonging to somebody else? Possibly, Baseball America explains:

In the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft, teams may select any eligible player left off the major league 40-man roster or the Triple-A reserve roster of 38 players. In the Double-A phase of the draft, teams may select any eligible player left off the major league roster, the Triple-A reserve roster or the Double-A reserve roster of 37 players. In other words, a player selected in the Triple-A phase does not rank among his organization’s top 78 talents, and a Double-A selection does not rank among its top 115. In these cases, players are not required to remain on a particular roster. The player’s contract is irrevocably assigned to the drafting team and the drafting fee ($12,000 for Triple-A, $4,000 for Double-A) is paid.

That said, it likely won’t have a major impact, though the minor league portions of the Rule 5 draft “are used much more as an inexpensive way to add depth to the minor league clubs by acquiring a player who fills a need for, say, a lefty reliever or backup center fielder for the Double-A or Triple-A club,” according to Baseball America.

In the end, the Rangers are showing “respect” to Russell Wilson – but also potentially disrupting the lives of their 39th or 40th prospects to show that respect to somebody who does not – and will not – ever play for them.

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