The Orioles will talk trades at the Winter Meetings. They’ll talk about free agents with their representatives. But, one thing is nearly certain. They’ll take at least one player in the Rule 5 draft.
The Rule 5 draft on Dec. 10 concludes the four-day circus. Each year since 2006, the Orioles have selected a player. Last year, they got two selections, one via a trade with the Houston Astros.
In Dan Duquette’s first four years, the Orioles have picked Ryan Flaherty, T.J. McFarland, Michael Almanzar, and last year, Jason Garcia and Logan Verrett.
Verrett went to Texas in the last week of spring training and was later returned to the New York Mets. There just wasn’t room enough for two Rule 5 picks on the roster.
Any player drafted has to be kept on the 25-man roster or else offered back to the team he was drafted from.
The Orioles got Jason Garcia through though he spent nearly half the season on the disabled list, and he now has three options.
This year, they may not take a pitcher because with Dylan Bundy out of options, the Orioles may have to keep Bundy on the roster—if he’s healthy. But, they still may.
It’s unlikely they’ll take a catcher or middle infielder. They seem well stocked with those, and first basemen are in short supply, so it doesn’t look like many will be available.
With the team in need of outfielders, it’s possible that they’ll look to the draft for one.
Who was the last outfielder drafted by the Orioles? Jose Bautista, who was listed as an infielder, was taken in 2003. He played a total of five innings as a third baseman for the Orioles in 2004. Overall, Bautista played in 16 games before moving on to Tampa Bay in June.
Bautista was with four teams in 2004, but didn’t become a star until 2010, his second year in Toronto.
Arguably the best Rule 5 pick in club history was Jay Gibbons, who was taken in 2000. Gibbons was listed as an infielder, too though he played much more in the outfield than he did at first base.
Gibbons played seven seasons for the Orioles, and hit 23 home runs and drove in 100 runs in 2003.
He spent 2015 as the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Northwest League affiliate, the Great Lakes Loons, but was let go after the season.