The deadline for MLB teams to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the upcoming Rule 5 draft is Wednesday. The draft will take place on Dec. 12 at the annual Winter Meetings.
Minor league players eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft are those not on the 40-man who have had a certain amount of time pass since being signed. For those who were 18 or younger on the June 5 prior to their signing, they may be selected in the fifth Rule 5 draft following their originally being signed. Those who were 19 or older when signed can be selected in the fourth Rule 5 draft after their signing.
If a team selects a player in the draft, he is automatically added to the 40-man roster and must be on the major league roster for all of the upcoming regular season. Each selection also costs $50,000. If a player does not remain on the major league roster, he must be offered back to his original team for half the cost of drafting him. A trade can also be worked out.
There have been 30 Rule 5 selections that have gone on to be All-Stars later in their careers, including Hall-of-Famer Roberto Clemente, Johan Santana, Josh Hamilton, George Bell, Jose Bautista, and R.A. Dickey.
In 2012, 15 players were selected in the Rule 5 draft, with the Astros taking pitcher Josh Fields first overall from the Red Sox. The 27-year-old spend the entire year in Houston's bullpen, posting a 4.97 ERA.
Many teams are facing tough decisions as to what players they will add to the roster. Clubs have to remain wary as most only have a few openings and will likely want to save room for possible free agent signings or trade acquisitions.