Nats lose Rosenbaum, Kobernus in Rule 5 draft (updated with quotes)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Nationals have had two of their players selected within the first seven picks of the Rule 5 draft.

Left-hander Danny Rosenbaum was selected by the Rockies with the third pick.

Rosenbaum is a 25-year-old left-hander, who went 8-10 with a 3.94 ERA at Double-A Harrisburg last season. He had a very strong first half of the year, but dropped off significantly after the All-Star break, going 1-4 with a 5.05 ERA.

With his departure, the Nats now have even less pitching depth at the high levels of their farm system.

Second baseman Jeff Kobernus was taken by the Red Sox with the seventh pick. He reportedly will be shipped to the Tigers.

Kobernus hit .282 with one homer and 19 RBIs in 82 games at Harrisburg last season. After the draft, he was traded to the Tigers for minor league infielder/outfielder Justin Henry.

“You obviously never want to lose any players,” Nationals assistant general manager Bryan Minniti said after the draft. “(When you) set your roster, you know you’re always taking chances on losing any of your prospects, and it’s never good to lose a guy that’s a left-handed starting pitching prospect (or) a middle infield prospect. But you wish them well, wish them luck. At the end of the day, you hope you get them back at some point in the next year. But, yeah, it’s never easy to lose your guys.”

As expected, the Nationals did not make a selection in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft, opting to pass.

Here’s how this works: the Nats get $50,000 each for Rosenbaum and Kobernus. Those players must stay on their new team’s 25-man roster through the whole season. If they don’t, they must get offered back to Nats. If the Nats want them back, they must pay the team $25,000 to return the player. The rules transfer with Kobernus, from the Red Sox to the Tigers.

In essence, it’s a $25,000 tryout.

The Nationals thought that Rosenbaum and Kobernus could be lost in the Rule 5, but they can’t protect everyone. There are only so many spots for so many players. The Nats chose to protect right-handers Erik Davis and Nathan Karns by adding them to the 40-man roster two weeks ago.

“You tend to like your own players a little bit more than everyone else does, so as you’re analyzing who to add to the roster, there’s probably seven or eight guys that you think, ‘Well, if somebody saw him at the right time, he’s got a chance to go,’ ” Minniti said. “That kind of thing. And then you hear a lot of scuttlebutt here at the meetings about so-and-so likes so-and-so. So there’s always a chance.

“You never really know until you get here, and (we’re) fortunate that we only lost the two guys that we lost, but again, hopefully we get them back.”

Update: The Nationals also lost left-hander Jack McGeary to the Red Sox in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft.

McGeary was a sixth-round pick of the Nats in 2007 who was allowed to attend Stanford and play truncated minor league seasons in 2007 and 2008 before committing full-time to baseball in 2009. He received a large signing bonus but had Tommy John surgery in 2010 and has not pitched above low Single-A.

Updated II: Another player from the Nationals’ system is going to a new organization.

Right-hander Hector Nelo was taken by the Dodgers in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft. Nelo posted a 2.73 ERA in 47 relief appearances at Double-A Harrisburg last season.

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