In the latest entry to the “No, Not That One” department, the New York Yankees actually participated in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 Draft in a way that just might pique the fan base’s interest.
Clearly, Brian Cashman wasn’t kidding a few days ago when he said the front office was focused on getting this right. Of course, due to the continuing lockout, there’s … nothing else they can legally focus on, but still.
He was also fighting the Grinch at the time. We don’t want to talk about it.
Thought New York did lose another pitcher to the Red Sox (we also don’t want to talk about that), fans who still have hope left probably got a chuckle reading the fine print after this exercise was over — and Boston fans likely did a little double take.
The Yanks ended up swiping two players — which is out of character, considering they always seem to leave these types of events getting plundered instead.
The first? Ex-Pirates righty Steven Jennings. The second? A former Astro literally named Manny Ramirez.
The Yankees swiped an Astros prospect named Manny Ramirez in the Rule 5.
OK, so … once you get over the brief shock to the system … not bad!
A former top-30 prospect from the not-so-distant past (Baseball America, 2019) is always worth swiping in a no-risk event like this, whether his name is something random or literally Dustin Pedroia. This Manny did a whole lot of being Manny from 2017-2019, striking out 126 batters in just 95.2 innings pitched.
The problem? Those 95.2 innings came across all three seasons, meaning his arm’s not built up whatsoever. He missed 2020 (pandemic) and 2021 (undisclosed injury), and will now try to regain his early-career momentum in the Yankees’ system. Certainly a shot in the dark, but hey, that’s what this Draft is for.
The other prospect, Jennings, comes from a similar situation. Back in 2018, he was towards the upper echelon of the Pirates’ top 30 and entered the minors as a bonus baby. After a few steps back, he’s now searching for it in a new system.
His name might not be as ironic as Ramirez’s, but both men are joining the Yankees as equal wild cards.
Maybe next year, when the MLB Rule 5 is re-instituted, the Yanks can try to get the rights to Pedro Martinez. No, not a prospect. The actual Hall of Famer who just turned 50.
Let’s just hope this Manny either pans out or disappears quietly. We’d hate for him to torture us as much as the last one.