Rule 5 Draft Update
The Toronto Blue Jays have designated RHP Randy Wells for assignment.
Wells was selected by the Jays from the Cubs AAA Iowa roster in the Major League phase of the MLB Rule 5 Draft last December, and although he pitched well enough in Spring Training to earn a slot on Toronto's Opening Day 25-man roster, he finally got caught in a numbers game
The Jays now have ten days to either trade or outright Wells, although they actually have to do something with him within eight days because it takes two days for a player to clear waivers.
If the Blue Jays trade Wells to another club, the new club assumes the Rule 5 obligations (player must remain on the club's 25-man roster for the entire 2008 season).
If the Jays can't find a trading partner, they will place him on Outright Assignment Waivers, and if he goes unclaimed, the Cubs will have the opportunity to reacquire Wells for $25,000 (half the Rule 5 Draft price). If the Cubs choose not to reclaim Wells, the Blue Jays get to keep him, and he is automatically outrighted to the minors.
But the Cubs historically always take back Rule 5 players if they get the chance (Dubois, Szuminski, Hagerty, Mateo, Holdzkom, and Campusano), so if they are given the opportunity to reacquire Wells, they almost certainly will.
Also, RHP Tim Lahey was Designated for Assignment by the Phillies last Saturday, and the Phils will need to trade Lahey by this weekend or else place him on Outright Assignment Waivers.
Lahey was the #1 pick in the 2007 Rule 5 Draft, as the Tampa Bay Rays selected the big right-hander from the Minnesota Twins AAA Rochester club. Then immediately after the draft, the Rays sold the rights to Lahey to the Cubs for $100,000 (twice the Rule 5 Draft price).
The rubber-armed Lahey showed some flashes of upside in Spring Training, but he is still a bit raw (a converted catcher, he's only been pitching for two years), and the Cubs didn't have a spot for him on the 25-man roster. So he was placed on Outright Assignment Waivers two weeks ago, just before the start of the regular season.
Lahey was claimed off waivers by Philadelphia (with the Phillies assuming the Rule 5 obligations), but got into no games with the Phillies before being Designated for Assignment last Saturday to make room on the 25-man roster for Brad Lidge, who was reactivated from the DL at that time.
Just as with Wells and the Jays, the Phillies have 10 days to either trade or outright Lahey, but if they don't trade him, they have to place him on Outright Asignment Waivers within eight days, because it takes two days for a player to clear waivers. If Lahey does clear waivers this time, then he must be offered back to the Twins.
And if Lahey was in fact the tentative PTBNL in the Craig Monroe deal, then the Twins will certainly opt to reclaim Lahey, and if that happens, then he can be traded to the Cubs.
One thing to remember about MLB Rule 6 (the rule that governs the disposition of Rule 5 players who are not retained on a 25-man roster) is that if the player clears waivers and his original club takes him back, he is automatically outrighted back to the AAA club from which he was drafted. He is NOT placed on the club's 40-man roster.
So if the Cubs do reclaim Wells from TOR and/or reacquire Lahey from MIN, both would initially be assigned outright to AAA Iowa, and would not have to be added to the Cubs 40-man roster. However, both Wells and Lahey (if they were to be reacquired by the Cubs) would be candidates for recall later this season, and both would likely be added to the Cubs 40-man roster by the end of the season.
It would be nice to have arms like Wells and Lahey at Iowa to provide the Cubs some additional middle-relief depth for later in the season.