Yours truly got his question on the Rule 5 Draft answered by Jim Callis at BA, and hopefully it clears up some questions we had here on who is eligible and who isn’t. I haven’t even looked who the Phillies will have to make decisions on yet, let alone looking for possible targets. But, here is what Jim said on the issue.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, college players have four years and high school players have five years before they have to be protected on a 40-man roster, correct? Is this from when they sign, or from when they first play? For example, Brad Harman of the Phillies signed out of Australia in 2003, when he was 17, but he didn't make his debut until 2004. So he wouldn't have to be protected until after 2008, right? Jason Jaramillo, who was drafted out of Oklahoma State in 2004 and then played that summer, he has to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason, correct?
James is correct on the status or Harman and Jaramillo, but the recent change to rule is a little more involved. First, it’s based purely on the player’s age at the time of his signing, with those 18 or younger in one group and those 19 or older in another. Under the previous CBA, a player’s 40-man clock started ticking when he began playing, so a club could postdate his contract to the following year and buy an extra season before it had to protect him. Teams had to place a 19-and-older signee on the 40-man roster after three years, and an 18-and-younger signee after four years, or risk losing him in the major league Rule 5 draft at the Winter Meetings.
Now the rule gives clubs an additional year before they have protected players, though it no longer allows teams to postdate the contracts to buy extra time. Teams get the best of both worlds for players signed before the new CBA went into effect after the 2006 offseason, as they can take advantage of not only the added year, but also a postdated contract if one applies.