As we head into Thanksgiving and await the Winter Meetings, there appears to be a new wrinkle in the land of Rule 5. We’ve written before about some of the Cubs players that could potentially be lost to Rule 5 in early December, which is mildly annoying but not really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.
Today, The Cub Reporter retweeted an article from Baseball America’s Ben Badler. The Cubs have a spot open on their 40-man roster at the moment, and could open some more up if they so choose depending on what they want to do with the recently acquired George Kottaras and fringe players like Brett Jackson. The idea here is that the Yankees have already paid the bonus and so the pitcher in question, Omar Luis, can be had for league minimum plus the Rule 5 fee. The follow-up question is whether that’s worth it to the Cubs.
Based on the prior season’s standings, the Cubs will pick fourth in the Rule 5, after the Astros, Marlins and White Sox. If none of those teams decide to gamble on a guy with “stuff” and a strong body, then it poses a very interesting scenario for the Cubs. Would the Cubs be able to hide such a player in the bullpen for 90 days before making up a fake injury and stashing him in Iowa? Badler’s report is pretty glowing of what Omar Luis’ potential could be, but does caution that he may be too far away to be of much use to a major league bullpen. Depending on how the Cubs feel about their ability to contend and their rebuilding timeline, they may have to pass this opportunity up. However, because of Luis’ unique circumstances, he may yet be available in next year’s Rule 5 draft, though the Cubs may not have as early of a pick next time around.