Making Amends for Yesterday’s Winter Meetings Post

Yesterday’s post was meant to be funny, as it was intentionally left blank because the Orioles didn’t really do anything at the Winter Meetings.  And when I say “do anything”, I of course mean that they didn’t make any trades or sign any players to their major league roster.  They were all over the rumor mill, and it was even reported that they had several offers out to players, including right-handed closer Grant Balfour and outfielder Nelson Cruz (although the reports as to whether they actually had an offer out to Cruz were conflicting).

Additionally, they did make two selections in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft, one in the major league portion and one in the minor league (AAA) portion.  If you don’t know anything about the Rule 5 Draft, click here to increase your knowledge and therefore your power (because knowledge IS power).  Rule 5 draft picks are not something to normally get excited about as they rarely pan out.  Still, there is a chance that a team could pick up a productive player in the Rule 5 Draft, even if the chances are slim.  If you want proof, all of the following are Rule 5 draftees:

This list is pretty impressive, however, not all of these players made an impact right away.  For example, Victorino was originally drafted by the Padres from the Dodgers in 2002 but was quickly returned.  Later, he was drafted by the Phillies from the Dodgers in 2005 and initially offered back to LA, who did not want him back.  It was only until the middle of the 2006 season when Victorino became a productive major league player.  There are other notable Rule 5 players, but I picked out ones that would be more recognizable to the casual fan.   Every once and a while, a team will find a gem in the Rule 5 Draft, but it doesn’t happen often.  Plus, it’s important to remember that the players above were only available in the draft because their original teams were concerned with perceived skill deficiency, injuries, past drug abuse, or maybe even all 3.  The main take away is that you shouldn’t get your hopes up.

Baltimore’s two Rule 5 draft picks from the previous two years have actually turned out well.  They took Ryan Flaherty in 2011 and T.J. McFarland in 2012.  Barring any additional acquisitions, Flaherty appears to be the team’s starting second baseman heading into the 2014 season, and McFarland (who performed admirably out of the bullpen last year) will be competing for another bullpen spot in 2014, with a (very) outside shot at the rotation.  This year however, I don’t think the Orioles will be as fortunate with their pick(s).

They selected Red Sox 3B/1B/DH Michael Almanzar in the major league portion of the draft.  This means that Almanzar will have to spend all of the 2014 on the 25-man roster or be offered back to the Red Sox.  I, along with most others, don’t think he’ll make the team out of spring training and will be offered back to the Red Sox.  In the minor league portion of the draft, the Orioles chose outfielder Julio Borbon.  If the name sounds familiar, it’s because he has spent parts of 4 years in the major leagues between 2009 and 2013, mostly as a member of the Rangers.  As a minor league draftee, all Baltimore has to do is pay the draft fee.  They can just stash Borbon in the minors and call him up when needed.  I actually like the Borbon pick more, as the Orioles are very thin on outfield depth in the high minors, and he should be a decent insurance policy who can play all 3 outfield positions.

I’m not going to provide any more analysis of those two picks since my colleague Jon Shepherd at Camden Depot has already done an excellent job of that already and I suggest that you read his article on the Rule 5 picks as well as the “Player to be Named Later” that Baltimore received in the Jim Johnson trade.

So the Orioles actually DID do something at the Winter Meetings.  And because of that, I’m sorry for uploading a sarcastic post that contained no content at all…kind of.

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