With so many quality choices available in this year’s deep Rule 5 Draft, it was almost a foregone conclusion that the Blue Jays were easily going to find one player to take in the Major League portion of the draft.
Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, however, had other ideas.
On a day where, with their 10th overall selection in the draft, former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi and the New York Mets plucked infielder Brad Emaus away from the Jays, Anthopoulos decided against selecting a player in the Major League round of the draft entirely.
In Gregor Chisholm’s article regarding the Rule 5 Draft on the Blue Jays team site yesterday, he mentioned Anthopoulos’ explanation:
"“The guy we wanted got taken,” Anthopoulos said while not naming anyone specific. “Then we didn’t see anybody else … that we felt was worth it, considering the fact that we feel like we’re already going to have to start taking guys off the [40-man roster].”"
With holes to fill at 1B/DH, 3B, and RP, on top of interest in adding another catcher, starting pitcher, and possible outfielder, the Jays desperately needed open spots on the 40-man roster.
Adding a player that is unproven in the Major Leagues from the Rule 5 Draft would have occupied one of only three valuable 40-man roster spots that are currently vacant.
Contreras, a skinny, switch-hitting infielder from the Dominican Republic, has played as high as Double-A in the Los Angeles Angels Minor League system.
He hit .272/.302/.380 in 31 games with Double-A Arkansas in 2010, and has not hit a home run since 2008. He will probably take the roster spot Emaus vacated on the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats or Triple-A Las Vegas 51s, or he could even start out the 2011 season with Hi-A Dunedin.
Salas, a 20-year-old from Venezuela who was playing in the Tampa Bay Rays minor league system, seems a bit more intriguing. Still 20-years-old, he has a career .322/.390/.506 line in four Summer League seasons (198 games total).
I’d like to see the Jays get him out of Summer League ball and have him start the 2011 season with the Gulf Coast Blue Jays. He would be playing for fellow Venezuelan and new GCL Blue Jays manager Omar Malave. If he succeeded there, he could possibly get promoted to Class-A Lansing before the end of the season, though he probably does not know any English.
This additional Anthopoulos quote from Chisholm’s article explains the selections:
"“That’s strictly based off our scouts. If we have a scout that believes strongly in someone, we don’t have anything to lose. I’m a big believer that if you have a scout pounding the table for someone that’s a Rule 5 Draft — or a waiver claim or something like that — you just got to go ahead and do it. … If you can’t do that for your scout, there’s something wrong.”"
For $12,000, these players are worth taking a look at and surely the Jays’ beefed-up scouting department knows what they’re talking about.