Thursday, December 6, 2007

Six players exit in Rule V Draft

Tim Lahey
Tim Lahey

The Minnesota Twins remained remarkably quiet during the Rule V draft Thursday at baseball's winter meetings.

After all the rumors surrounding the Santana Sweepstakes failed to materialize, General Manager Bill Smith sat back and passed on all potential Rule V picks, perhaps the most intriguing of which was Tampa's Evan Meek, who went to Pittsburgh with the 2nd pitck.

The Rays, picking first overall, selected Minnesota reliever Tim Lahey. Lahey split last season between AAA Rochester and AA New Britain, posting a 9.00 ERA in 2 games in Rochester, and a 3.45 ERA with a 8-4 record and 13 saves for New Britain in 78.1 innings pitched. The New Britain stats look promising, the 3 innings in triple a did not.

A converted catcher out of Princeton University, Lahey is a hard worker who's gone through a lot to catch up with the rest of the Minnesota pitching staff. While it was possible he'd have stuck in the Rays bullpen, they Rays then sold Lahey to the Chicago Cubs for $150,000. It's extremely unlikely that the competative Cubs will keep him in the major league line up for the year, which means they will have to work a deal with the Twins if they intended to keep him.

Seattle selected R.A. Dickey, a free agent right-hander the Twins had signed to play in Rochester for the upcoming season in the 12th round. This is a puzzling selection as Dickey really hasn't displayed anything in the past that would indicate the 33-year-old could handle a full time major league roll. Dickey had a 13-6 record with a 3.72 ERA for his hometown Nashville Sounds in 2007, earning himself a spot on the PCL Post Season All-Star team. He walked 60 and struck out 119 in 169.1 innings pitched. He will have to earn a spot in the Seattle bullpen out of Spring Training.

Going in the 30th round to the Washington Nationals, was Garrett Guzman. This maybe wasn't such a surprise, as the Nat's had shown some interest in the California native before. Guzman finished up last season with the AA Rock Cats batting .312 with 14 home runs and 88 RBI's and sported a .453 slugging and .359 on base percentages. The big question would be if Guzman has what it takes to make a major league roster for the Nats. That's a really iffy pick for Washington, since we've not seen what Guzman is capable of at the Triple A level.

Outfielder Rashad Eldridge was a free agent signee for the Twins in 2007 and spent last year in New Britain, where he hit for a .291 average with 65 runs, 41 RBIs and 7 homre runs. This Eldridge will wear a Durham Bulls jersey as we has selected by Tampa Bay with the first pick of the Triple A portion of the draft.

The Twins resigned former Miracle Josh Hill to a minor league contract earlier this fall, but he won't be in a Minnesota uniform. The Aussie right-hander was picked up by Pittsburgh with the 2nd pick in the Triple A phase of the draft. He does not have to be placed on Pittsburgh 40-man roster, so he'll likely be playing for AAA Indianapolis or AA Altoona next season.

Hill posted a 3-2 record with a 3.00 ERA in 17 games for the Fort Myers Miracle last year, moving from the bullpen into the starting rotation, before earning a long overdue promotion to New Britain. He went 3-2 with the Rock Cats with a 4.36 ERA in 53.2 innings, walking 27 and striking out 46. The 24-year-old still projects well as a major league reliever, but he's never been a fast-track prospect.

J.P. Martinez was taking in the AA portion of the draft, this time by Baltimore. The 6'2" right hander from New Orleans split time between the Rochester Red wings and the New Britian Rock Cats last season, as well as making one apperance with the FSL Fort Myers Miracle. Martinez compiled a 3-6 record with a 4.19 ERA in AA New Britain, where he walked 33 and struck out 48 in 53.2 innings, earning 2 saves in relief. His brief 2 game appearance in Triple A was less then memorable, as he posted a 12.0 ERA in 3 innings.

The Twins under Terry Ryan were always very active in the Rule V draft, which makes me wonder if Terry just liked taking part to keep busy at winter meetings. Smith seems somewhat disinclinded to play the game. The change of organizational philosophy is certainly of interest.

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