Rule 5 Fun! Blue Jays Draft Joe Biagini!
By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
It’s Rule 5 Draft day! In the past little while it hasn’t been exactly an exciting day for Blue Jays fans and, under Alex Anthopoulos, things have happened more on at the minor league level and on the trade front. Today, the Blue Jays selected right-handed pitcher Joe Biagini from the San Francisco Giants.
To review, the Rule 5 Draft was created to prevent teams from drafting and signing talent and then hording it away from other teams. Players who signed contracts are eligible to be selected by other teams as long as this is the fourth Rule 5 draft since they’ve signed (fifth for players who signed at age 18 or younger) and they are not on their club’s 40-man roster. To select a player, you must have at least one open spot on your 40-man roster, you pay his team a paltry sum of $50,000 and the player must remain on the 25-man (active) roster (or the DL) for the whole season. If you want to get rid of the player, the player has to clear waivers and be offered to the rest of the league before he can return to his original team which would pay $25,000.
Biagini looks like an interesting pitcher and, at 25, is known more for his pitching “savvy” (as J.J. Cooper tweeted) than his stuff but had some great results in the Eastern League last year with the Richmond Flying Squirrels. He had a 3.11 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, walking just 34 batters in 130 1/3 innings but striking out 84 and getting 1.46 ground outs to every air out over the course of his minor league career. Biagini was a 26th-round pick in the 2011 draft out of University of California, Davis and has been very solid throughout the minors. Doug Fox (@clutchlings77) tweeted this thought from Baseball America’s Josh Norris:
“Savvy righthander doesn’t possess a plus pitch, but average arsenal and pitchability makes stuff tick up.”
The stipulation that a player has to remain on the 25-man roster all season is a big one that scares most teams away from making selections. It does however, work out for some players although they’re not guaranteed to stick beyond the first season (after which they can be optioned to the minors like any other player). Last year, Delino DeShields was selected and became the Houston Astros’ starting center fielder while Odubel Herrera was the Phillies’ everyday center fielder too.
Most recently the Blue Jays selected Brian Moran from the Seattle Mariners and sent him to the Los Angeles Angels in return for bonus money for their international spending pool. Before that, the Jays selected Zechry Zinicola in 2009 who didn’t survive spring training before being returned to Washington. In 2007, the Jays selected right-handed pitcher Randy Wells from the Chicago Cubs and he was also returned shortly after Opening Day. Other notables include DeWayne Wise (1999) and George Bell (1980).
We’ll update soon with results from the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.
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