Hate it when that happens, right?! Hate it when MLB institutes a lockout of its players, but goes about its business as usual in the weeks prior, leading to the Yankees protecting several prospects who didn’t need protection in the first place.
Surely, there were no unintended consequences there, right? No ramifications of a six-name roster shuffle for no one’s benefit?
Ah, right. The Yankees lost Clint Frazier, Tyler Wade and Rougned Odor to a series of late DFAs in order to protect a bunch of top prospects (lottery tickets and MLB-ready relievers) from the scourges of the Rule 5 Draft, where MLB teams can pluck unprotected players away, as long as they keep them on the active roster all year long.
Prevailing wisdom, at the time, was that a lockout would only delay the Rule 5 proceedings and wouldn’t cancel them altogether, leaving no reason to worry. Well … prevailing wisdom stinks! It was extremely wrong.
According to Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser, this year’s MLB portion of the Rule 5 has been tabled. Axed. It’s gone.
The wide-ranging ramifications mean plenty of middling teams will have less of a chance to steal the next Garrett Whitlock this season. The shorter-term concern? The Yankees did a lot of unnecessary housekeeping.
The Yankees got screwed by the MLB Rule 5 Draft’s cancellation.
In short … Tyler Wade and Andrew Velazquez were both hacked off the 40-man in order to make room for Ron Marinaccio and JP Sears, both of whom would’ve been plucked by another team (and stashed all year) if the Rule 5 had occurred.
Instead … no movement. No shuffling. And Wade and Velazquez, who’d be the two best shortstops on the Yankees roster at the moment (hilarious, but true) are both in Anaheim.
It’s hard to believe we’ve even gotten a chance to find fault with the most mundane, bureaucratic move, but that’s the world we live in. Remember when Gerrit Cole was signed? You could question the dollar figures if you wanted to be petty, but there was no question about the fit: the Yankees had gotten their ace.
Except … 2020 got wiped out by a pandemic, we learned Cole used adhesive to skirt the system, and we learned the pressure of the Fenway Park crowd was too much for his balky hamstring. Cole rules! Unfortunately, his addition has brought more questions than answers … as always seems to be the case for the Yankees.
Again, with the Rule 5, forces beyond our control have conspired to make an obvious win into a question mark. Sad to see Wade and Frazier go, but there’s a much higher chance the unprotected (and soon to be swiped) players would’ve made a bigger impact on the 2022 roster. Except … now they could’ve just been added to replace a 60-Day IL guy in March, and the Bombers could’ve kept everyone.
What’s next? What silver, metallic claw from above will pluck joy out of the Yankees’ hands when we least expect it?
Who knows? But it’s coming. Could’ve used a heads up here from MLB.