Yesterday, Jason wrote a helpful article detailing all the Yankees' candidate for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. Today was the deadline for teams to add players to their roster in order to protect them from being chosen, as the Rockies did with former Yankees prospect Tommy Kahnle last year. Rule 5 selections must stay on the major league roster all of the next year to remain with their new organizations; if they are cut, they are returned to their original teams. So who did the Yankees choose to protect?
#Yankees add OF Tyler Austin, RHP Danny Burawa, RHP Branden Pinder and OF Mason Williams to the Major League roster.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) November 20, 2014
Austin is the least surprising of the bunch, as he was terrific in the second half for Trenton this year (.336/.397/.557 in 33 games), perhaps finally demonstrating that he's over the wrist injuries which plagued his 2013 campaign. He also tore up the Arizona Fall League in 19 games, batting .304/.392/.449 in 19 games before a bone bruise following a collision ended his stint. Burawa and Pinder are a bit odder selections, but still understandable. The Yankees saw Kahnle pitch well in Colorado after letting him go for nothing, and while Burawa and Pinder probably aren't quite as good as Kahnle was in the minors last year, it still doesn't hurt too much to protect them, especially with openings in the big league bullpen.
Choosing not to protect strikeout machine Mark Montgomery was strange in light of these moves, but the Yankees know him a lot better than we do. They've soured on him the past couple years due to injury struggles, a high walk rate, and even showing up to camp out of shape. Someone will probably claim him, but so it goes. Among the intriguing names Jason went over who weren't protected were Ben Gamel, Zach Nuding, Kyle Roller, Rob Segedin, and Matt Tracy. Even though there were probably some cases to keep an eye on them, the Yankees aren't going to go down in flames next year by virtue of losing them should other teams claim them. Also Cito Culver and Angelo Gumbs weren't protected, but they are less than good, so whatever. (Still have nightmares about Cito being taken a round before Andrelton Simmons in the 2010 Draft... sigh.)
Protecting Mason is... interesting to be kind. Williams was once considered among the best prospects in the Yankees' system, if not *the* best, but he has been ugly to watch for a couple years now. Although a team probably would have scooped him up if he was unprotected since scouts still rave about his tools, would that have really been so bad? Williams has shown a complete inability to hit pitching above A-ball (he wasn't that great in High-A either), and the Trenton outfield is likely to be crowded next year anyway. Is holding onto Mason for this long really worth the long-shot payoff? Who knows. It's a weird move, but even though oddly choosing to protect Jose Campos over Kahnle likely cost them a decent reliever last year, I'm not going to get too riled up about it.
Still worth a confused Tex GIF though:
In other news, to clear up one of the spots on the 40-man roster, the Yankees sold infielder Zelous Wheeler to Masahiro Tanaka's old team:
#Yankees sell the rights of INF Zelous Wheeler to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) November 20, 2014
Wheeler was just infield depth, so it's not a big loss. Still, he was a fun bench addition to the team, and it watching him homer in his first career start was pretty awesome. Good luck in Japan, Zelous!
What do you think about the Yankees' 40-man additions?