The deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft is now 48 hours away. Which players will the San Diego Padres make their top priority?
The Rule 5 Draft is once again approaching, keeping many Major League front offices very busy. The San Diego Padres are no different, as they have many decisions to make in the next couple of days.
By Friday at 5 PM PT, every organization will need to decide which players in their minor league system they wish to protect from the Rule 5 Draft, and which they will risk losing. Those eligible for the draft will either need to be moved to the team’s 40-man roster, or will be left vulnerable to be moved.
The Padres have 45 players eligible for the draft, though only several have a legitimate shot of being selected. This is due to the fact that if an organization chooses a player through this process, they must keep the player on the Major League roster. They also must keep him active for the first 90 days of the regular season, preventing him from being moved to the disabled list even if he is injured.
This, along with a $50,000 payment, is what it costs to select a player in the Rule 5 Draft. San Diego right-hander Luis Perdomo went through this process last offseason.
Clearly, teams only choose players they are confident will make an immediate impact at the Major League level. For the Padres, this is good news, as it makes it even more unlikely that they will lose anyone through this process.
Guerra is still competing at High-A following his first season with the organization. Playing 102 games on the infield, the 21-year-old has a ton of upside. As the seventh ranked prospect in the organization, the Padres will likely make the young shortstop a top priority with the draft in mind.
Lockett is a lot different than Guerra in that he does not have the upside, but it is equally important that the organization protects him. Working his way up from Single-A to Triple-A in 2016, Lockett is much more Major League ready than Guerra. Though not a top prospect, the 22-year-old could reach the big league level in 2017, and possibly provide depth to the rotation. There is a chance a team selects the right-hander in the Rule 5 Draft, so the Padres ought to be sure to protect him if they feel he is part of their long term plan.
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Other players which may seek protection include Franchy Cordero, Rocky Gale, Jake Smith, and Michael Kelly, a first round draft pick. However, these minor league players are much less likely to be selected in the draft, making them less of a priority for San Diego.
San Diego currently has 39 spots on their 40-man roster filled. Since the team can no longer exceed the roster limit, they will need to remove a player from their roster if they want to secure both Guerra and Lockett. In all likelihood, this will end up happening on several Major League rosters, as teams are conscientious of the upcoming draft.
The Rule 5 Draft will take place on December 8th, the last day of the winter meetings. In the next two days, fans should expect a lot of news coming from the Padres’ front office, as they prepare for the event. The two players to especially keep an eye out for are Guerra and Lockett, who San Diego should protect.