Rosters will be shaken up big-time by Tuesday at 6pm ET. That marks the deadline to add Rule-5 eligible players onto the 40-man roster or risk them from being drafted by other teams on the final day of the Winter Meetings in San Diego in December. First things first, let’s see what happens now. The shaken and stirred part of the deadline is the multiple DFA’s that will come across baseball. Maybe there will be some last minute trades also. Because of the COVID lost season of 2020, there are so many players who missed key playing time and are now Rule-5 eligible.
The Nats have 13 players Rule-5 eligibles in total with five good cases to debate protecting them from the Rule-5 draft:
- INF/OF Jake Alu
- RP Matt Cronin
- OF Jeremy De La Rosa
- RP Jose Ferrer
- SP Jackson Rutledge
While Alu and Cronin appear to be locks to be added to the Nats’ 40-man roster, Ferrer might have earned a spot as he was promoted twice during 2022 and finished up at Double-A Harrisburg. Rutledge who was a Nats 2019 first round pick will most likely be protected by general manager Mike Rizzo, and the toss-up is on outfielder De La Rosa who had a great Class-A season with Fredericksburg but struggled with High-A Wilmington. The team can make the decision on risk in leaving JDLR exposed because of the Rule-5 requirements that a drafting team must keep the player on the Major League roster for the full season.
Here are the other eight players that the Nats could expose to the Rule-5 draft:
- OF Donovan Casey
- SP Tim Cate
- INF Jackson Cluff
- SP Mason Denaburg
- SP Jake Irvin
- C Drew Millas
- SP Aldo Ramirez
- SP Seth Shuman
UPDATED: JAKE IRVIN was the 6th player added to the 40-man roster to be protected from the Rule-5 draft.
You will note that former 2018 first round pick Denaburg is on that list, but his highest level so far has been at Class-A Fredericksburg, and it is doubtful even with that first round pedigree that any team would draft him during the Rule-5. Some could make a case for Cate or Irvin, and even Millas who performed the best of any Nats player at the Arizona Fall League last month. These are all tough calls that will be debated over and over in Rizzo’s front office.
Currently, the Nats 40-man roster is at 39 players. In order to add four players to the roster, the Nats would have to clear at least three spots. Rizzo had already DFA’d catcher Tres Barrera and LHP Francisco Perez last week. So the question is, who do the Nats DFA?
UPDATED 11/14/2022: Seth Romero was released by the team reportedly for more off-the-field issues.
|1||Cory Abbott||High||26||R||R||6′ 1″||210||20-Sep-95||2015|
|2||Evan Lee||High||25||L||L||6′ 1″||210||18-Jun-97||2017|
|3||Josh Palacios||High||26||L||R||6′ 1″||198||30-Jul-95||2014|
|4||Lucius Fox||High||24||S||R||6′ 1″||192||2-Jul-97||2016|
|5||Seth Romero||High||26||L||L||6′ 3″||213||19-Apr-96||2015|
|6||Tommy Romero||High||24||R||R||6′ 2″||225||8-Jul-97||2017|
|7||Jackson Tetreault||High||26||R||R||6′ 5″||189||3-Jun-96||2016|
|8||Reed Garrett||Moderate||29||R||R||6′ 2″||196||2-Jan-93||2012|
|9||Yasel Antuna||Moderate||22||S||R||6′ 0″||199||26-Oct-99||2017|
|10||Yadiel Hernández||Moderate||34||L||R||5′ 10″||197||9-Oct-87||2009|
|11||Erick Fedde||Low||29||R||R||6′ 4″||203||25-Feb-93||2012|
|12||Gerardo Carrillo||Low||23||R||R||5′ 11″||163||13-Sep-98||2017|
|13||Joan Adon||Low||23||R||R||6′ 2″||246||12-Aug-98||2017|
|14||Luke Voit||Low||31||R||R||6′ 3″||255||13-Feb-91||2011|
|15||Paolo Espino||Low||35||R||R||5′ 10″||211||10-Jan-87||2007|
|16||Tanner Rainey||Low||29||R||R||6′ 2″||244||25-Dec-92||2012|
|17||Victor Arano||Low||27||R||R||6′ 2″||228||7-Feb-95||2013|
|18||Jordan Weems||Low||29||L||R||6′ 4″||209||7-Nov-92||2011|
|19||Riley Adams||Low||26||R||R||6′ 4″||249||26-Jun-96||2015|
|20||Alex Call||Low||27||R||R||5′ 11″||188||27-Sep-94||2013|
|21||Andres Machado||Low||29||R||R||6′ 0″||235||22-Apr-93||2011|
|22||Cade Cavalli||23||R||R||6′ 4″||240||14-Aug-98||2017|
|23||Carl Edwards Jr.||30||R||R||6′ 3″||170||3-Sep-91||2012|
|24||Carter Kieboom||Very Low||24||R||R||6′ 2″||220||3-Sep-97||2016|
|25||CJ Abrams||21||L||R||6′ 2″||185||3-Oct-00||2019|
|26||Hunter Harvey||27||R||R||6′ 2″||225||9-Dec-94||2013|
|27||Ildemaro Vargas||30||S||R||6′ 0″||180||16-Jul-91||2008|
|28||Israel Pineda||Very Low||22||R||R||5′ 11″||188||3-Apr-00||2017|
|39||Joey Meneses||30||R||R||6′ 3″||215||6-May-92||2011|
|30||Josiah Gray||24||R||R||6′ 1″||199||21-Dec-97||2016|
|31||Keibert Ruiz||23||S||R||6′ 0″||225||20-Jul-98||2015|
|32||Kyle Finnegan||30||R||R||6′ 2″||197||4-Sep-91||2011|
|33||Lane Thomas||26||R||R||6′ 0″||191||23-Aug-95||2014|
|34||Luis Garcia||22||L||R||6′ 2″||212||16-May-00||2017|
|35||MacKenzie Gore||23||L||L||6′ 2″||197||24-Feb-99||2017|
|36||Mason Thompson||24||R||R||6′ 6″||236||20-Feb-98||2016|
|37||Patrick Corbin||32||L||L||6′ 4″||222||19-Jul-89||2009|
|38||Stephen Strasburg||Very Low||33||R||R||6′ 5″||239||20-Jul-88||2009|
|39||Victor Robles||25||R||R||6′ 0″||195||19-May-97||2014|
UPDATED: Tommy Romero was DFA’d. The team also DFA’d three other players who cleared waivers and were outrighted to Triple-A Rochester and they are Evan Lee, Yadiel Hernandez, and Jackson Tetreault.
The complicated answer is that there are plenty of DFA candidates still on the Nats roster, and it is very possible that Rizzo already put a few players on waivers to see what happens. We have not heard of any players getting claimed across baseball.
Many teams will wait for the last minute with their best players that they will cut. Remember, in order to claim a 40-man player on waivers, the team has to pick up that player with the same requirements the previous team had. For instance, if you claim a player who is arbitration eligible, that player keeps that status. It is very possible that a team could cut some arb-eligible players at this point instead of waiting for the non-tender deadline.
Keep in mind that the Nats will choose No. 1 in the Rule-5 draft, and as players go unprotected, we will talk about who the Nats may choose in that draft in December. The freight to draft a Rule-5 player is $100,000, but the key requirement is that the team must keep any drafted player on their active roster and/or the IL for the entire 2023 season.
The only Rule-5 player the Nats hit on was Jesus Flores. Most Rule-5 picks fail. It’s been a long time since the Nats were drafting at No. 1 so Rizzo might just see a player who he can’t pass on. Keep in mind, any drafted Rule-5 player must immediately get added to the 40-man roster too.