The Cleveland Indians rostered several players to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. But some others could be snatched up by other teams.
There are countless moves made every MLB offseason that may fly under the radar.
That is true of the decisions made to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft, as the Cleveland Indians did earlier this week.
Bobby Bradley, Sam Hentges and Jean Carlos Mejia were all added to the 40-man roster to protect them from potentially being selected by another team in December’s Rule 5 Draft. For those unfamiliar, teams can sign players from other organizations who aren’t stashed on the 40-man roster. But those players must remain on the major league roster all year long.
Our Matt Bretz laid out how he would go about the process and had Bradley as the obvious choice at the top of his list. But he also noted outfielder Oscar Gonzalez as a potential option to put on the 40-man roster.
The Indians did not roster Gonzalez and he showed up in an MLB.com article as one potential player to be signed by another team in the Rule 5 Draft. Here is what the article said about the young prospect:
"Gonzalez is a bit of a long shot to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft, considering he’s a 20-year-old with only one full season of Class A experience, but he has the type of robust right-handed power and enough feel to hit (as well as a 70-grade arm in right field) to possibly check the right boxes for some teams. He led the Rookie-level Arizona League in both home runs (eight) and slugging percentage (.566) en route to the MVP honors in 2016, and he clubbed 13 homers with 25 doubles this past season in the Midwest League."
Gonzalez would be a tricky add for a team as he would be skipping several levels of minor league baseball to go right to the majors. If the Indians, a team in need of outfield help, feel he is years away then other teams may feel the same.
Only a team in a major rebuild would consider such a move. If no one claims Gonzalez he could show up in potential trade packages as well.
The Indians are in a win-now mode so there isn’t much room in the majors for inexperienced prospects. However, that does open up opportunities for the young men to shine elsewhere.