The MLB Rule 5 Draft is held on the 2nd Thursday in December and is presently the last order of business at the MLB WINTER MEETINGS. It is a mechanism that allows MLB clubs to select (draft) players off minor league reserve lists.
There is a "Major League Phase" where an MLB club can select Rule 5 Draft-eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs (any minor league classification) for $100,000 ("Major League Phase" Rule 5 Draft price increased from $50,000 to $100,000 beginning with the December 2016 draft), and a "AAA Phase" where a club's AAA minor league affiliate can select Rule 5 Draft-eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs of a lower classification (below AAA) for $24,000 (Rule 5 "AAA Phase" draft price increased from $12,000 to $24,000 beginning with the December 2016 draft).
NOTE: Effective December 2016, the "AA Phase" (where a club's AA minor league affiliate could select Rule 5 Draft-eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs of a classification below AA for $4,000) has been eliminated.
There is no limit on the number of rounds in each phase (there could be one, there could be three, there could be five or more). As long as at least one club is still selecting players, the phase will continue, but as soon as all 30 teams have a full reserve list (so that clubs can no longer make selections) or have passed, the phase is over.
There is no limit on the number of Rule 5 Draft-eligible players any one organization can lose in a Rule 5 Draft.
Rule 5 Draft order is based upon the inverse order of winning percentages from the previous season. If the winning percentages of two or more clubs are the same, the club with the lowest winning percentage from the previous season picks first. If two or more clubs are still tied, league standings from two years back (or three years back, four years back, etc) are used to break the tie.
RULE 5 DRAFT ELIGIBILITY
1. A minor league player who was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract is eligible for selection starting with the 5th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season, and a minor league player who was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract becomes eligible for selection starting with the 4th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season.
2. If a player signs his first contract after the conclusion of the season of the MLB or minor league club to which he is first assigned (even if he signs prior to the Rule 5 Draft), the next season is considered to be the player's "first qualified season" for Rule 5 eligibility purposes. (Depending on the minor league, the conclusion of a minor league club's season could be as early as the first week of August, or as late as the second week of September).
3. A player eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent who signs a minor league successor contract prior to being declared a free-agent and a free-agent with prior MLB and/or minor league service who signs a minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection if the player was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 5th Rule 5 Draft since he signed his first contract, or the player was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 4th Rule 5 Draft since he signed his first contract.
4. Any player on a minor league reserve list who has either been released or had his contract voided and then re-signs with the same MLB organization within one year is eligible for selection.
5. Any player on a minor league reserve list who has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career is eligible for selection.
6. A player on the Voluntary Retired List, Disqualified List, or Ineligible List is not eligible for selection.
7. An MLB club can designate any player on a minor league reserve list "eligible for selection" in a Rule 5 Draft even if the player would not normally be eligible, but once a player is designated "eligible for selection," he remains eligible for selection in all subsequent Rule 5 drafts.
NOTE: A club might do this if the club is planning to release the player during the off-season.
8. A minor league player-manager who would be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft if he was only a player can be selected, but if he is selected, the player-manager can reject the selection and retire. He has 30 days to decide. If he rejects the selection and opts to retire as a player, the player-manager is ineligible to be reinstated as a player for a minimum of one year.
CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS ELIGIBLE FOR SELECTION IN 2019 RULE 5 DRAFT (last updated 9-30-2019)
Jose Albertos, RHP
Miguel Amaya, C
Javier Assad, RHP
Jhonny Bethencourt, INF
Casey Bloomquist, RHP
Andres Bonalde, LHP
Craig Brooks, RHP
Jesus Camargo, RHP
Faustino Carrera, LHP
Bailey Clark, RHP
Alfredo Colorado, RHP
Yovanny Cuevas, OF
Zach Davis, OF
Donnie Dewees, OF
Scott Effross, RHP
Marcos Encarnacion, RHP (second contract player previously released by CIN - see NOTE-1 below)
Emilio Ferrebus, RHP
Wladimir Galindo, 3B-1B
Trent Giambrone, IF-OF
Eric Gonzalez, C
Julio Guante, RHP (second-contract player previously released by DET - see NOTE-1 below)
Fauris Guerrero, RHP
Zach Hedges, RHP
P. J. Higgins, C-INF
Chad Hockin, RHP
Bryan Hudson, LHP
Ryan Kellogg, LHP
Garrett Kelly, RHP (second-contract player previously released by MIN - see NOTE-1 below)
Ryan Lawlor, LHP (second-contract player previously released by ATL - see NOTE-1 below)
Conor Lillis-White, LHP
Rafelin Lorenzo, C
Vimael Machin, INF
Eddy Julio Martinez, OF
Marcus Mastrobuoni, C
Ivan Medina, RHP
Fidel Mejia, INF
Dakota Mekkes, RHP
Tyson Miller, RHP
M. T. Minacci, RHP
Jordan Minch, LHP
Kevonte Mitchell, OF
Erling Moreno, RHP
Connor Myers, OF
Tommy Nance, RHP
Rafael Narea, INF
Richard Nunez, C-1B
Eugenio Palma, LHP
Tyler Payne, C
Raymond Pena, C
Tyler Peyton, RHP
Gustavo Polanco, C-1B
Eury Ramos, RHP
Ian Rice, C-1B
Duncan Robinson, RHP
Abraham Rodriguez, OF-1B
Manuel Rodriguez, RHP
Aneuris Rosario, RHP
Michael Rucker, RHP
Carlos Sepulveda, INF
Wyatt Short, LHP
Zack Short, INF
Jake Stinnett, RHP
Matt Swarmer, RHP
Alexander Vargas, RHP
Willians Vasquez, RHP (second-contract player previously released by ATL - see NOTE-1 below)
Jerry Vasto, LHP (Article XX-D player)
Omar Ventura, RHP
D. J. Wilson, OF
Mark Zagunis, OF (Article XX-D player)
Danny Zardon, RHP (ex-C-IB - second-contract player previously released by PHI - see NOTE-1 below)
Delvin Zinn, INF
SECOND CONTRACT MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS NOTES:
NOTE-1: With mutual consent (player & club), a second-contract minor league player who has accrued fewer than seven minor league seasons can be signed to a multi-year minor league contract with club control extending up through the player's seventh minor league season. So it is possible that one or more of the Cubs minor league second contract players are signed beyond the 2019 season (TBD).
NOTE-2: RHP Donato Auguste (previously released by KC), RHP Aneudis Beard (previously released by TEX), RHP Rodrigo Garcia (previously released by NYY), LHP Anderson Parra (previously released by PHI), LHP Jorge Ramirez (previously released by TEX), and C Juan Vasquez (previously released by SD) are second-contract minor league players, but none of the them are eligible for selection in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft if signed beyond 2019.
Additionally, a free-agent who signs a 2020 minor league contract prior to the 2019 Rule 5 Draft or a minor league player who is eligible to be a minor league free-agent post-2020 but who signs a minor league successor contract prior to becoming a free-agent will be eligible for selection in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft if the player was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 5th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season, and a minor league player who was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract becomes eligible for selection starting with the 4th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season.
MLB ARTICLE XX-D or ARTICLE XIX-A MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT POST-2019
Jim Adduci, 1B-OF (Article XX-D outrighted player - filed for free-agency on 9/30)
MLB RULE 55 FREE-AGENT POST-2019
SIX-YEAR MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENTS:
Gioskar Amaya, INF
Yasiel Balaguert, 1B-OF (serving as a COACH in 2019)
Corey Black, RHP
Charcer Burks, OF
Roberto Caro, OF
Erick Castillo, C
Trevor Clifton, RHP
Taylor Davis, C - Article XX-D player
Oscar de la Cruz, RHP - Article XX-D player
Enrique de los Rios, RHP
Phillip Evans, INF - Article XX-D player
Johnny Field, OF - Article XX-D player
Luke Hagerty, LHP - Article XX-D player
Chih-Wei Hu, RHP - Article XX-D player
Erick Leal, RHP
Luis Lugo, LHP
Dixon Machado, INF - Article XX-D player
Jhonny Pereda, C
Chris Pieters, OF-1B (serving as a COACH in 2019)
Colin Rea, RHP
Will Remillard, C (serving as a COACH in 2019)
Manuel Rondon, LHP
Alex Wilson, RHP - Article XIX-A player
RULE 5 DRAFT RESTRICTIONS:
1. A minor league player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft cannot be added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), traded to another organization, or transferred from one minor league reserve list to another within the same organization, starting with the filing of minor league reserve lists on November 20th (or November 19th if November 20th falls on a Saturday or November 18th if November 20th falls on a Sunday) up through the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft.
2. A Rule 5 Draft-eligible player cannot be sent outright to the minors beginning at 5 PM (Eastern) on the third day prior to the Rule 5 Draft through the conclusion of the draft.
3. A club must have as many slots open on its MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) prior to the Rule 5 Draft as the number of players it selects in the Major League Phase, and an MLB club's AAA affiliate must have as many slots open on its reserve list prior to the Rule 5 Draft as the number of players the affiliate selects in the AAA Phase.
4. A club can select a player off the reserve list of one of its own minor league affiliates, but if the player is selected in the Major League Phase, the club is bound by the same Rule 5 roster restrictions as if it had selected the player off the reserve list of another club's minor league affiliate.
NOTE: This actually happened at least once a number of years ago, after a club (Atlanta Braves) inadvertently left one of its top prospects off its MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) when minor league reserve lists were submitted to the MLB Commissioner on November 20th.
5. A player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft cannot be "covered up" from selection, either by agreement between two clubs or by effect (such as by concocting a phony injury and placing the player on an Injured List in an attempt to decrease a player's value when the player is not really injured). Also, a player selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft cannot be "hidden" on an Injured List to help the drafting club fulfill Rule 5 roster obligations (such as by leaving the player on the Injured List after he is healthy enough to play). If the MLB Commissioner believes a club "covered up" a player to avoid losing the player in the Rule Draft or "hid" a selected player on an Injured List, the offending club or clubs are subject to a penalty (TBD by the MLB Commissioner).