The MLB Draft was once upon a time a June event, a showcase for top talent buried in the middle of the summer with very little fanfare. Luckily, MLB used a pandemic brainstorm to move the showcase to All-Star Weekend, forever training the spotlight on the future of the sport.
With more fans caring about prospect movement than ever before (and not just Boston fans clinging to their prospect rankings like gospel), it's surprising that MLB's Winter Meetings swap session -- otherwise known as the Rule 5 Draft -- remains under the radar.
Every December during the offseason's Hot Stove kickoff, MLB's teams gather to select unprotected players off their rivals' minor-league rosters. If you make a selection in the Major League portion of the draft, that means you're committing to carrying the player you steal on your big-league roster for the duration of the season. Sometimes, executives try sneaky coups and stashes (read: Noah Song), but they don't typically work. It's hard to beat the rules.
Plenty of teams will pass on making their selections this winter, too, considering the strain it places on a roster spot to have a required occupant. Consider the Yankees among those likely to opt out. Every winter, they lose several overflow prospects, but rarely (if ever) opt to gain any players.
MLB Rule 5 Draft 2023: When, where, and which Yankees are safe?
The Rule 5 Draft will occur during the 2023 Winter Meetings, which will be held in Nashville, TN from Dec. 4-7. Last season, the meetings took place during the exact same dates in San Diego, and the Rule 5 results were announced Wednesday, Dec. 7. It's safe to assume a similar timeline this season.
Last year, by some miracle, every MLB team got together and decided they had no interest in trying out Andres Chaparro as a DH/bench slugger. He responded by drilling 24 bombs and knocking in 86 runs at Triple-A (with a semi-unimpressive .781 OPS), and will face a similar chance of being taken this time around.
Ultimately, New York lost some minor-league depth, with pitchers Wilking Rodriguez and Zach Greene being taken by the Cardinals and Mets in the uppermost round. The 33-year-old Rodriguez has been on the Cards' 60-Day IL for nearly the entire season, while Greene is back with the Yankees at Scranton (with a 5.68 ERA and likely to soon be back on the market).
This winter, Agustin Ramirez is the Yankees' hottest name. The standout catcher found himself promoted to Double-A this summer, finishing the season with an .819 OPS and 18 bombs. It would seem ridiculous for some MLB team to select him and stunt his development by stashing him all year long as their third catcher, but ... that's exactly what happened with Luis Torrens back in 2016, and he made it through an entire year with San Diego (though his career never took off).
Other Yankees in danger of being swiped include Clayton Beeter, who almost certainly will be protected, Elijah Dunham, Matt Sauer, Luis Serna, and vulnerable relievers like Carson Coleman and Edgar Barclay. Luckily, New York has a surprising amount of wiggle room on their 40-man roster, and could accommodate a number of additions.
They also already took care of their two most important applicants: Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells, who've both already been protected.