NASHVILLE – This afternoon’s Rule 5 draft marks the end of the Winter Meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. Typically held on Thursday morning the week of the Meetings, the league bumped it up to Wednesday afternoon last year, much to the delight of beat reporters who get to travel home a day early.
The Nationals historically haven’t utilized this avenue of roster building. Designed to keep teams from stashing prospects in the minor leagues, general manager Mike Rizzo has usually turned to acquiring established major leaguers instead of taking a flier on an unproven prospect that has to take up a roster spot for the entirety of next season.
But the Nats did stray away from that last year by selecting Thaddeus Ward from the Red Sox with the first-overall pick in the Rule 5 draft, their first selection in 12 years.
Although they hold the No. 5 overall pick this afternoon and have two open spots on the 40-man roster, the Nats aren’t assured of making a selection. But that doesn’t mean the Rule 5 draft will definitely be uneventful for them.
The Nats, of course, can lose players in this event and they have already taken steps to assure they keep the ones they definitely want.