" Rule 5 draftees are players who have accumulated sufficient time as professionals but are "unprotected" by their major league teams by being left off the 40-man roster are eligible to be picked. Generally speaking, players who signed out of high school must be protected after four minor league seasons and players who signed out of college or junior college must be protected after three minor league seasons.
|The Twins new rule 5 pitcher, |
Scott Diamond, drafted in Dec.
The catch is any player drafted must be kept on the active 25-man roster or major league disabled list all of the following season or be offered back to their original team. Teams pay $50,000 to draft a player and the original team can buy him back for $25,000 if offered.
That stipulation explains the low rate of success for Rule 5 selections -- many teams don't even bother making a pick -- but there are of course exceptions. The most famous is Roberto Clemente, a Rule 5 pick by the Pirates in 1954. More recently, Josh Hamilton and Joakim Soria were both Rule 5 picks in 2006, as was Dan Uggla in 2005 and Johan Santana in 1999. "