Neal Huntington said today that the pool of available players for the 2010 Rule 5 draft wasn’t a good one, and that the Pirates could trade their first overall selection. Deals involving Rule 5 selections aren’t uncommon. Last year the Washington Nationals traded the first pick in the Rule 5 draft to the New York Yankees in exchange for relief pitcher Brian Bruney, who was coming off a season with a 3.92 ERA in 39 innings in relief, and had two years of control remaining.
Rule 5 trades have also been made as part of bigger overall deals. Last year the Baltimore Orioles selected left handed pitcher Ben Snyder from the San Francisco Giants, and traded him to the Texas Rangers as the player to be named later to complete the Kevin Millwood trade from the previous season. The Pirates have some history involving Rule 5 trades. They drafted Sean White in 2006, then traded him to the Seattle Mariners for cash considerations.
While the talent pool in this year’s Rule 5 draft isn’t very strong, the Pirates do have the number one pick, which means they get their pick of the available players. There are some good players to be had, despite the weak talent available. For example, Aneury Rodriguez, who I detailed yesterday, is a guy who could compete for a rotation spot to start the 2011 season. The Pirates could land a good player, although the lack of talent could also work in their favor for a trade by making the first pick more attractive.
The Rule 5 draft is on Thursday, the final day of the 2010 Winter Meetings. Even if the Pirates traded their first overall pick, they could make another selection in the draft, assuming there was someone available that they liked. They currently have four open roster spots, which gives them the opportunity to make multiple selections.