Photo credit: TCP Photography/Courtesy Lake County Capains

MLB’s annual Winter Meetings (Dec. 4-7) will conclude with Wednesday’s Rule 5 Draft at 5 PM ET. In a typical year, it represents one last chance to make a deal or acquire young talent before each club’s entourage heads to their respective cities.

To be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, players 18 or younger with five seasons of professional experience are eligible. While players age 19 or older (typically college players) and having four seasons of professional experience are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Each team making a selection must have room on its 40-man roster. Teams making selections must pay a fee of $100,000. Players drafted must remain on the selecting team’s 26-man roster for a minimum 90 days, or the player must be offered back to their original team for $50,000.

In recent years, the organization’s most notable losses are right-hander Hector Rondon (Cubs) and outfielder Anthony Santander (Orioles). More recently, both right-handers Jordan Milbrath (Pirates) and Kyle Dowdy (Mets) were selected and eventually returned to the organization. Milbrath was later traded to the Miami Marlins for right-handed reliever Nick Wittgren. Last year the Guardians were beneficiaries of the cancellation of the Rule 5 Draft due to the 99-day-long lockout.

Cleveland Guardians best available unprotected prospects

  • Nic Enright- RHRP
  • Peyton Battenfield- RHSP
  • Nick Mikolajchak- RHRP
  • Kyle Marman- RHRP
  • Micah Pries- 1B/OF
  • Gabriel Rodriguez- 3B/SS
  • Jonathan Rodriguez- OF/DH
  • Andrew Misiaszek- LHRP
  • Kevin Kelly- RHRP
  • Trey Benton- RHRP
  • Ethan Hankins- RHSP
  • Lenny Torres Jr.- RHSP
  • David Fry- 1B/C

Will the Guardians make a Rule 5 selection?

The most recent selection: Trevor Stephan (Yankees) has established himself as a back-of-the-bullpen option for years to come. Past notable selection(s): left-handed reliever Hoby Milner (2016) was returned to the Phillies. In 2012, the Indians selected first baseman Chris McGuiness from the Rangers, like Milner, he was later returned.

As of this writing, the Guardians have 39 players on their 40-man roster. If the club sees a player they covet, perhaps a right-handed corner bat with on-base skills (Nunez, Chaparro) or a left-handed reliever (Lopez, Sikkema) they could make a selection. Cleveland holds the 23rd overall selection with playoff aspirations and a potential blockbuster deal (Sean Murphy?) in the future, the organization could (speculation) sustain the flexibility they have created and bypass their selection in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. If a deal happens before the Rule 5 draft occurs Cleveland could use it as a means of adding a player they covet and offseting the prospect cost.

Update: The Guardians have come to terms on a two-year deal (player opt-out after one season) with free agent Josh Bell- 1B/DH (Padres). Once official his deal will put the roster at 40. Cleveland can open a spot on the roster by making another move before Wednesday. To make a selection in the Rule 5 Draft Cleveland would need an opening.

Best fits

  • Malcom Nunez- 1B/DH (Pirates) 
  • Andres Chaparro- 3B/1B (Yankees)
  • Ryan Fernandez- RHRP (Red Sox)
  • Adrian Hernandez- RHRP (Blue Jays)
  • Gus Varland- RHRP (Dodgers)
  • Michael Mercado- RHSP (Rays)
  • Thad Ward- RHSP (Red Sox)

Others to know: Cam Devanney- SS/3B (Brewers), Heriberto Hernandez- OF/1b (Rays), Erik Miller- LHRP (Phillies), Victor Vodnik- RHRP (Braves), Jayden Murray-RHSP (Astros), Matt Gorski- OF (Pirates), Mason Englert- RHSP (Rangers), Antoine Kelly- LHRP (Brewers), Inohan Paniagua- RHRP (Cardinals), Nolan Hoffman- RHRP (Orioles), Austin Shenton- 1b/3b (Rays), Logan Davidson- SS (Athletics), Jose Lopez- LHRP (Rays), McKinley Moore- RHRP (Phillies), Devin Mann- UTL (Dodgers), Jose Ramos- OF (Dodgers), Austin Schulfer- RHRP (Twins), Grant Anderson (Rangers), TJ Sikkema- LHRP (Royals), Pedro Pages- C (Cardinals), Kyle Brnovich- RHSP (Orioles), Antonio Gomez- C (Yankees), Josh Breaux- C (Yankees), Steven Cruz- RHRP (Twins), Jake Magnum- OF (Mets), Drew Millas- C (Nationals), Blake Crim- 1b (Rangers)

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