The Boston Red Sox are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle while simultaneously stinging their biggest American League East rival.
The Red Sox on Thursday selected right-handed pitcher Garrett Whitlock from the New York Yankees in the Major League Baseball Rule 5 Draft.
Boston owned the No. 4 pick in the draft, which allows MLB teams with open 40-man roster spots to select players with four to five years of professional experience from other organizations if said players haven’t been placed on their respective clubs’ 40-man rosters.
So, what’s the catch? Well, you can read the complete Rule 5 draft rules here, but basically, each selection costs $100,000 and a team must carry any player it selects on its active major league roster for the entire upcoming season. If not, that player must be placed on waivers, at which point another team will absorb his Rule 5 rights or the player will be offered back to his original club.
Whitlock, initially an 18th-round pick by the Yankees in June 2017, had Tommy John surgery in 2019 and missed all of 2020. Clearly, the Red Sox see some upside in the 24-year-old, though, and it’s possible he’ll compete for a spot in Boston’s bullpen during spring training.
Whitlock, listed at 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds, posted a 3-3 record with a 3.07 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 14 starts (70 1/3 innings) with Double-A Trenton in 2019.
The Red Sox also selected first baseman Tyreque Reed from the Texas Rangers and right-handed pitcher Kaleb Ort from the Yankees in the minor league phase of Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. Neither player needs to be added to the Red Sox’s 40-man roster.
The Red Sox don’t need to look far back to see the potential benefit of choosing a player in the major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft. They selected infielder Jonathan Arauz from the Houston Astros with the 10th pick in last year’s draft, and he wound up spending the entire 2020 season with Boston, providing valuable versatility off the bench.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, Texans Rangers and Detroit Tigers owned the first three selections in the major league portion of Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft and chose Jose Soriano (Los Angeles Angels), Brett de Geus (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Akil Baddoo (Minnesota Twins), respectively.