With the Rule 5 draft approaching, which KC Royals may lose their 40-man roster spots?
Like prospectors seeking their fortunes, major league clubs with vacancies on their 40-man rosters will gather in just over three weeks for the Rule 5 draft, baseball’s annual talent crapshoot. The draft is scheduled for Dec. 10 and, unless they fill the one open spot on their own 40-man, the KC Royals will be among the clubs searching for diamonds in the rough.
The rules for the Rule 5 are simple. Players who signed at 18 or younger and haven’t made their teams’ big league rosters within five years, or who signed at 19 or older and haven’t made it within four, can be drafted by any club whose 40-man roster isn’t full. Drafting clubs pay $100,000 and must retain drafted players on their active rosters for the following season or, with limited exceptions, lose them to their original teams.
Besides deciding who, if anyone, to draft, the hard parts for participating teams are deciding who to add to their 40-man rosters to protect them from the draft, and who to cut to make room for those players. Some decisions are easier than others: the Royals, for example, won’t cut Salvador Perez, Brad Keller, Brady Singer, or Adalberto Mondesi to create space for protectees, but they’ll have to decide whether to risk losing others with promising futures.
Kansas City won’t be flooding their roster safe harbor with protectees. In fact, mlb.com identifies just five among its Top 30 KC prospects: outfielders Khalil Lee, Seuly Matias and Brewer Hicklen, and pitchers Daniel Tillo and Yefri Del Rosario. Assuming they’re right, who will Kansas City cut to accommodate those players on the 40-man?
There isn’t much time to decide. Clubs have to set their 40-man rosters for Rule 5 purposes Friday. What will the Royals do?