Rule 5: Who Went

For the second straight year, two Nationals were selected during the MLB phase of the Rule 5 draft — LHP Danny Rosenbaum and 2B Jeff Kobernus.

Rosenbaum was selected third by the Colorado Rockies. Colorado Rockies blog Purple Row describes the selection:

Rosenbaum will compete for a bullpen job vacated by Matt Reynolds. Josh Outman had been penciled in as the second lefty in the bullpen, joining Rex Brothers, but this move allows Outman to start, or for Colorado to have three lefties in their pen.

Kobernus was taken seventh by the Boston Red Sox, then subsequently traded to the Detroit Tigers for 28-year-old AAA utilityman Justin Henry. Not coincidentally, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski was quoted via’s Justin Beck:

We not only like his ability to play second, but we think that perhaps — and he hasn’t really done much of it — he could have some versatility where we might be able to move him to the outfield and get some playing time there

In the 1st round of the AAA phase, the Red Sox “struck” again by taking Boston native Jack McGeary, while Hector Nelo was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second round. Unlike the MLB phase, these players do not have to be offered back to the original club.

McGeary had Tommy John surgery in 2010 and has only pitched 25⅓ innings in 2011 and 2012 — all but 7⅔ innings in the GCL. He was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2007 draft.

Nelo was signed as a minor-league free agent in April 2011 after being released by the Texas Rangers. While capable of throwing in the triple digits, the 26-year-old Miami-born Floridian had a radar-gun strike zone, meaning the higher the number the more likely it was a ball if the batter did not swing.

As expected, the Nationals did not make any picks in the MLB phase. A slight surprise: They also passed in the AAA and AA phases as well.

The 2012 Watchlist
has been updated to reflect the selections.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

26 thoughts on “Rule 5: Who Went”

  1. Pitching will definitely be thin in the farms now. Time to make that Morse trade and start to restock pitching.

    1. or more likely, go and grab a slew of minor league free agent SPs.

      They’ll need to have a reserve of at least 4 guys in Syracuse to cover the inevitable dings

      1. Maya, Roark, Meyers, Mandel, and Garcia seem like a pretty good set of right-handers … possibly joined by Perry Ryan, if they could make that happen then they would have a duo of power pitchers ready to roll if needed.

        The weakness appears to be in the LHSP department further exacerbated by the loss of Rosenbaum.

        I expect that’s what they’ll try to acquire for AAA and AA perhaps?

  2. My predictions, Rosenbaum will be back Kobernus will not. I think not protect Kobernus was a big mistake, especially with open 40 man spots, anyone with his speed, defense has the potential to be a mjor league player(not to mention he has a pretty good hit tool)

    1. He’s also at strong team leader … and so the Nats probably would have protected him except for:

      He has yet to have an injury free season. He lost an entire season at one point due to injury.

      And Anthony Rendon’s former teammate at Rice, Rick Hague is still there. Plus Zach Walters.

  3. Also not protecting Nelo from the AAA part of the Rule V draft was amazingly dumb. relivers who can throw 100 ALWAYS have value(Hell, Nelo throws more strikes than Henry, and were keeping Henry in the MLB bullpen?)

    1. Injury risk again at least that’s my understanding. Guys who throw 100 mph and are injury risks are usually well risky?

      The Nats like going for injured pitching but only the kind of injuries they know aren’t permanent and in the case of TJ can actually improve the pitcher for a time afterward.

      1. Just to clarify: TJ surgery itself does not “improve” a pitcher, it’s the physical therapy that accompanies it that does, by strengthening the core muscles and/or correcting the biomechanical issues that caused the UCL breakdown in the first place.

        1. Thanks Luke … I also believe improved mechanics due to the need to focus on getting their control back? Of course it all depends on how disciplined and motivated the athlete is.

  4. The Nats farm system just got even more thin, runway-model thin, and no chance of replenishing anytime soon.

    We needed the depth that the minor league portion of the draft took away. If there are a lot of injuries next year at any level, it could get ugly.

    1. It’s been worse. Like Brian commented, we’re looking at a few more FAs and some OGs just got a reprieve.

    2. They’ve got position players they can trade to replenish. The question is will they rely on close-to-major league ready players instead of the young prospects they promoted to fill utility roles?

      They’ll wait for teams to get really desperate for players like Lombo and Moore and then strike while the iron is hot.

  5. Obviously there was a fair chance that there wouldn’t be a ML slot for Jeff any time soon, but it does seem like this one does create a need for a FA signing or two to fill out the minor league teams. Is Sean Nicol the only 2B we now have with AA or AAA experience?

    1. I guess you previously answered my question. I went back to your post talking about our candidates and who might be protected, and noticed that you had already called out that they had signed Will Rhymes as a FA, and that might presage that they realized the Kobernus might be lost, at least for awhile.

    2. Will Rhymes was signed to a minor league contract and has played in the bigs with both Detroit and Tampa.

  6. How long does a MLB team control its draftees? As I understand it, a 19-year old or older draftee is eligible for Rule 5 when the 4th Rule 5 draft occurs after he’s drafted. If he’s not drafted in Rule 5 draft, how long until he’s a free agent? Is it 6 years of control?

      1. Turns out to be a real problem with International prospects who are often signed at age 16. They end up becoming free agents just when they start to get good. I think Carlos Rivero might be an example of that.

    1. How it works out is that guys who started in 2007 will be FA’s next years, this years FA’s were players who started in 06

  7. Wow, lots of pessimism over losing these 4 players…
    I’ll admit I was really pissed when I first saw the names of who got picked, but the more I thought about it, the less important it seemed in the grand scheme. This is just what happens to good teams; we get our prospects poached and at the same time we no longer need to rely on the Levale Speigner’s of the world… It is disappointing to lose someone like McGeary after all the hype and investment, but would he have contributed in the Bigs this year? No, it’s more likely Bill Bray 2.0 will prove more valuable for the Nats than McGeary ever would have. Similarly, losing Rosenbaum, Kobernus, and Nelo hurts Minor League depth even more, but would a package of those three yielded a Gio Gonzalez -like trade? The answer is unequivocally no, otherwise we would have used them to acquire Denard Span. So as long as the front office continues to effectively evaluate talent and draft well the organization will continue to thrive. I wish all four of these guys nothing but future success, but I would certainly prefer that success to come back in a Nats uniform.

    1. Only two of those players are gone for good — Rosenbaum and Kobernus could very well be returned. I wish them well, of course, because they’re in a better position to make the majors today than they were three days ago, which is the point of the Rule 5 draft.

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