This past offseason, Major League Baseball and the players association spent a couple of months working towards a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, spanning from December 1st to early March with a lockout in place. Players and their respective teams like the Blue Jays went no contact, no trades or Major League signings were made, and players were unable to use team facilities.
One outcome of the lockout was that the MLB portion of the Rule 5 Draft was cancelled, as the draft usually takes place around the Winter Meetings in December. Teams will have an opportunity to protect any players via the 40-man roster before that time, but any eligible players left off the roster do have a chance of being selected by other clubs. Any selected player must remain on the team’s active roster for the entire calendar year or be offered back to the original club. Notable players selected by the Blue Jays in the Rule 5 Draft include Willie Upshaw, George Bell, Jim Acker, Kelly Gruber, Manuel Lee, Joe Biagini, and Elvis Luciano.
As of right now, with Ross Stripling, David Phelps, and Jackie Bradley Jr. heading to free agency, the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster stands at 40 players, which is including the three players (Hyun Jin Ryu, Tayler Saucedo, and Vinny Capra) on the 60-day IL who will need to be activated after the season is over and require a roster spot. That being said, Ryu will start next season on the 60-day IL while recovering from midseason Tommy John surgery while the Jays have a few players that could be removed to make room for adding eligible Rule 5 players as well as offseason acquisitions. Those decisions will come following the postseason.
The Blue Jays will have some tough roster decisions in regard to the 2022 Rule 5 Draft
Before the Rule 5 Draft was officially cancelled last year, the Blue Jays added four players to the 40-man roster: Zach Logue (later traded), Bowden Francis (optioned) Hagen Danner, and Leo Jimenez.
To be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, players signed at or under the age of 18 will need to be protected after five seasons, while players signed at 19 or over must be added after four seasons, or they are at risk for the draft. For this article, we will be using FanGraphs and their roster breakdown and Rule 5 eligibility status.
Here are five Blue Jays prospects that are at risk of being selected if they are not protected on the 40-man roster this offseason: