The A’s added five minor leaguers to their 40-man roster Friday to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, including shortstop and top prospect Franklin Barreto.
Friday was the deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 draft, which takes place Dec. 8 and allows teams to pluck players from other organizations who aren’t on the 40-man roster. Infielder Yairo Munoz, ranked the A’s No. 7 prospect by mlb.com, also was added to the roster along with outfielder Jaycob Brugman and pitchers Paul Blackburn and Bobby Wahl.
Oakland had 36 players on the 40-man leading into Friday, so pitcher Josh Smith was outrighted to Triple-A Nashville to clear a needed spot.
Players must be placed on the 40-man roster within four years of having signed their contract (if they were 19 or older upon signing) or within five years (if they were 18 or younger) in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft.
Barreto and Munoz, who alternated between shortstop and second base when both were with Double-A Midland last season, will play in the Arizona Fall League championship Saturday with the Mesa Solar Sox. Munoz, 21, also has played some third base. The 20-year-old Barreto is likely to be considered for a big league call-up sometime next season.
Brugman, 24, hit .285 with 12 homers and 87 RBI split between Midland and Nashville and could also be an option for Oakland in 2017. Blackburn, who turns 23 next month, was just acquired from Seattle on Saturday for Danny Valencia. The 24-year-old Wahl, a hard-throwing reliever, posted a 2.65 ERA with 14 saves last season while seeing time with Single-A Stockton, Midland and Nashville.