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.