Rule 5 Draft Can't Keep Anthopoulos in Indy
Just as he had slid stealthily through the lobby on Sunday night without being noticed upon his arrival, Jays' GM Alex Anthopoulos equally as quietly slipped out of Indianapolis on Thursday morning even before the Rule 5 draft at which his team chose righthander Zech Zinacola in the major-league portion and righthander Ruben DelaRosa in the Triple-A draft. A sign of the reduced strength of the farm system, they lost zero players to other teams in major, Triple-A and Double-A portions of the draft.
The Rule 5 draft was instituted years ago to help players from being buried in one particular farm system for life. Any player that has been, three years for a college player or four years for a high schooler, in a team's farm system and has not been added to the 40-man roster is eligible to be chosen by another team as long as he is added to the new team's 40-man and is kept in the majors for the next season. The Jays used to be good at this, with guys like Willie Upshaw, George Bell, Jim Gott, Jim Acker, Kelly Gruber and Manny Lee being acquired this way.
On Thursday, both Jays' selections in the Rule 5 came from the Nationals' organization. It's no coincidence that Anthopoulos' first new hire, assistant GM Dana Brown, came from the Nats and knew both players very well.
"I'm very familiar with both players," Brown said. "I had a chance to see them for a few years. In particular Zinacola who we've seen (throw) from 90 to 96 (m.p.h.) with a plus-slider. So he was a really good guy to take a shot at and see if we could get a back end piece for the major-league bullpen."
*Primary A.A. sidekick, Tony LaCava hung around for the Rule 5 and said that reports of outfielder Joey Gathright having signed with the Jays are premature, an assertion confirmed by his agent.
"Gathright's a player that we're interested in," LaCava admitted. "That's all I can say. We haven't been able to secure him yet. A lot of teams are interested in Gathright. We haven't finished anything."