The Philadelphia Phillies appear to have taken advantage in a flaw to Major League Baseball’s prospect system, and it’s coming at the expense of the Boston Red Sox.
The Rule 5 draft took place Wednesday, allowing teams to pluck prospects from minor league systems across baseball in hopes of finding a diamond in the rough. Garrett Whitlock, one of the Red Sox’s premier arms, is a famous Rule 5 selection from the New York Yankees in 2020 and has become a key piece in Boston’s future. As they do every year, the Red Sox saw players come and go during the affair, but no selection was more perplexing than that of Noah Song.
Song, a fourth-round selection by the Red Sox in 2019, was taken by Dave Dombrowski and the Phillies in the 2022 Rule 5 draft. Given he was a selection by Dombrowski in Boston, the Song selection should make a lot of sense — though it most certainly does not.
Song is a member of the United States Navy, and has not pitched since 2019 with the Lowell Spinners. As of the selection, he is not eligible to play baseball and must continue to carry out his service with the Navy. So why did Philadelphia select him? They can stash him for free.
The Phillies, according to Ian Cundall of Sox Prospects, are taking advantage of the system and will place Song on the military list immediately, so he doesn’t count toward their 40-man. He reportedly will be allowed stay there until his situation is resolved. Once he is activated, Song will have to report immediately to the Phillies’ 26-man roster, but that isn’t an issue as of right now.
Essentially, Philly took Song because they could afford to stash him when Boston was not allowed to do so. According to Jarrett Seidler of Baseball Prospectus, Song would have started to accrue Major League service time if the Red Sox protected him and added the 25-year-old to their 40-man roster.
Philadelphia didn’t stop there, taking another Dombrowski draft pick in Cameron Cannon.