As is customary the Winter Meetings in Nashville concluded today with the Major and Minor League portions of the Rule 5 draft. As is often the case the goings on of the Rule 5 draft are the only concrete moves being made for a number of teams. This year the Athletics were one of those teams.
They stayed quiet during the Major League portion of the draft, and their organization remained untouched. It was feared that reliever James Simmons was a strong candidate to be scooped up by a team needing some bullpen depth. Simmons may very well find himself in the Major Leagues this season, and now there is still a chance that he’ll make that happen with the Athletics.
The A’s did become a little more active during the Minor League portion of the draft though, they selected a catcher by the name of Steve Hill from the St. Louis Cardinals, and third baseman Tommy Mendonca from the San Francisco Giants. They did however lose a couple of players, whose names might be recognized by those more than just somewhat familiar with the organization as a whole. Infielder Michael Gilmartin was taken by the Cincinatti Reds, and outfielder Eliezer Mesa was taken by the Detroit Tigers. Both Gilmartin and Mesa spent the 2012 season with the Stockton Ports. Mesa was one of the pieces acquired from the Colorado Rockies in the Mark Ellis trade.
Every year the Rule 5 draft comes up, and former Rule 5 players like Johan Santana and Shane Victorino are mentioned, there is no telling if anyone involved in the draft this year will come anywhere near their stature though. It’s always a crapshoot, and sometimes you just might hit the jackpot.
There was a bit of news today from the woman with her finger on the pulse of the Athletics, Susan Slusser tweeted that an executive told her that he believed Stephen Drew planned to resign with the Athletics on a 1 year contract with a player option for 2014. There’s no word on what the exact terms of this deal would be, but this could be a best case scenario for the A’s if Drew decides to return. Of course his motive here would be to try to rebuild his value with a strong 2013 season and go back out to test free agency next offseason, if he doesn’t produce he can still pick up his own option and try again in 2014 to demonstrate his value. This works for the A’s as well, as Drew can serve as the perfect stop gap between now and the eventual promotion of Addison Russell, who is the shortstop of the future for the Athletics.
I’ve been on the Hiroyuki Nakajima bandwagon since he became a MLB free agent, and I still think his addition would be a big get for the A’s, but we know what Drew can bring and there’s value in that. They hit it big with the unknown quantity that was Yoenis Cespedes, but you can’t necessarily bank on that all the time. Cespedes is special, Nakajima may be as well, but you just don’t know. So while I’d love to see Nakajima signed, I see the wisdom in bringing Drew back. It’s a true win-win situation for the A’s.