A Look Back: 2006 Rule 5 Draft

Kansas City.com has a really interesting article outlining some of the ‘what-ifs’ that could have arisen out of the 2006 Rule 5 Draft.  To recap – Josh Hamilton was selected 3rd overall in that draft.  It was the Cubs picks, but they sold it to the Reds.  Joakim Soria was selected 2nd overall by the Kansas City Royals.  Not very often two legitimate, above average MLB players find their way into the Rule 5 draft, but it happened in 2006.

That’s the history of what actually happened.  The speculation about what could have happened is where things get really interesting.  One of the things I was not aware of is the incredible secrecy that surrounds Rule 5 proceedings – to make sure you don’t get scooped on your targeted player.  The Royals were really high on Soria, but they were worried that Tampa Bay might scoop him up first.  Instead, Tampa took Ryan Goleski and promptly sold his rights to Oakland.

That paved the way for Kansas City to take Soria, and the Reds to make the move and pluck Hamilton from Tampa Bay.  KC is a franchise that has historically been starved for hitting.  What would a hitter like Hamilton have done for their franchise?  The Reds are typically starved for pitching (so much so that they eventually traded Hamilton for a pitcher) – what would a closer like Soria have done for them?  All interesting speculation.

The most interesting situation is that of the Tampa Bay Rays.  They ended up with some cash out of the Rule 5 Draft.  What they could have ended up with is an elite closer (take Soria first overall in the Rule 5 Draft), and a slugging outfielder (protect Hamilton in that same Rule 5 Draft).

In the end – none of this matters.  What happened, happened.  But, it makes for an interesting blog post on a Friday where I don’t have a whole lot going on at work.


3 Responses to A Look Back: 2006 Rule 5 Draft

  1. Dave says:

    I always forget that they were taken in the same rule 5 draft. Kind of cool, really.

    And you’re right, Tampa could have really run the table last year with those two on their squad.

  2. Dave says:

    Excellent points. That 2006 Rule V Draft was really the only time since the Rays new front office took over (in 2005) that they really screwed up. I don’t think they anticipated that anyone would take a chance on Hamilton, and they thought that he was far from being MLB-ready. The decision to not protect him looks absolutely horrible now especially since they still had worthless players like Damon Hollins and Travis Harper on their 40-man roster, and they released both of those players a few weeks later.

    You’re right about Soria too. I was telling anyone who would listen in 2007 that the Rays should have taken Soria. The scouting reports on him were excellent, and of course, the Rays bullpen was ridiculously horrible in 2007. If they only had Soria, they would have been a much better team in ’07, and he would’ve been a great closer for them in 2008 and 2009 as well. If only they could turn back time…

  3. These are the Dave’s I know, I know….

    Forgive the Kids in the Hall interlude.

    Looking back on things is the easy part. The reality is, most players who are exposed in the Rule 5 draft have some flaws – otherwise they would be protected. Sometimes they overcome their flaws – makes the team that picked them look good, and the team that lost them look bad.

    Hamilton and Soria are two cases where everything worked out well. Every year there are lots of guys that don’t work out nearly so well.

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