The MLB offseason is underway. We have seen some high-profile signings already, and the first ever MLB draft lottery was held on Tuesday, December 6. The offseason events continue this week with the Rule 5 Draft. It will begin on Wednesday, December 7 at 5 p.m. ET, with coverage airing throughout the draft on MLB Network.
What is the Rule 5 Draft?
The Rule 5 Draft was implemented so teams couldn’t load up on young talent and just leave them in the minor leagues when other teams would be willing to have them play in the big leagues. Players that are first signed at age 18 or younger must be added to a team’s 40-man roster within five seasons, or they become eligible for the Rule 5 draft. This also applies to players 19 years or older, and they have to see a 40-man roster within four seasons. For players eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, other teams can pay $100k to select a player. If that player remains on the big league active roster, he is eligible to sign with that team long-term. If the player doesn’t remain on the big league active roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his old team for $50k.
Players taken in the Rule 5 Draft tend to have solid potential, but there are still very few that ever pan out into All-Stars. Most players taken will wind up with their former team at some point next season.