The return of the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings in Major League Baseball for the first time since 2019 saw a packed house on Wednesday.
A total of 15 players were taken in that portion of the Rule 5, just short of the 18 players that were taken the last time the Major League phase took place in 2020.
Players in the Major League phase can be selected for $100,000 and must stick on the Major League active roster or be offered back to the original team for $50,000. Here we take a look at some of the picks in the Draft.
It was widely believed that the Washington Nationals would use the first pick to try to add to their big league roster, and they did so by selecting Thad Ward from the Boston Red Sox.
Ward was the No.15 prospect on the Red Sox Top 30 and slots in at No.13 on Washington's list. He threw well in 2022, both in the regular season and in the Arizona Fall League, in his return from Tommy John surgery in 2021.
Speaking to the official Washington Nationals' website, general manager Mike Rizzo said: "When we do these Rule 5 selections, it's kind of a balance between an upside pitcher that you're really trying to hit on and kind of surety of being able to keep the player on the roster all season.
"He's got a good, four-pitch mix of pitches, he throws enough strikes, he's a savvy enough pitcher and a competitor that he could stay in the big leagues. We believe there's still some left in the tank, where his velocity could get back to pre-Tommy John stature."
Ward was one of three players the Red Sox would lose in the Major League Phase. The Philadelphia Phillies took Noah Song, the Red Sox's fourth-round pick out of the Naval Academy in 2019, even though the right-hander has just 17 pro innings on his resume, and none since 2019.
Zach Greene is swapping boroughs in New York. The right-hander was picked up by the New York Mets from the Yankees. The Florida native spent the 2022 season with the Yankees Triple-A side, Scranton-Wilkes Barre going 9-0 with 96 strikeouts over 68 and a third of an inning with a 3.42 ERA.
The 26-year old will have to remain on the Mets' 26-man roster all-season or be offered back to the Yankees for $50,000.
The Dodgers, who are to win the 2023 World Series, also lost three players in the Draft, with the Oakland Athletics taking first baseman Ryan Noda, No 2 overall, the Pittsburgh Pirates took lefty Jose Hernandez with the third pick and the Milwaukee Brewers selecting right-hander Gus Varland as the No.10 pick.
Pitchers accounted for 13 of the 15 picks, only Noda could fit into the A's line-up at the moment.
Plus outfielder Blake Sabol who was initially selected from the Cincinnati Reds from the Pirates was another batter.
Speaking to MLB.com, A's GM David Forst said about Noda: "I like the power, I like the walks, I like the defence at first base. We've asked the Dodgers about him a number of times over the last two years.
"His name came up in the Adam Kolarek deal and other potential trades. This was finally our opportunity to give him a shot. The last two years, he's done everything you could ask at Double-A and Triple-A, so I'm looking forward to giving him an opportunity."
The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Jose Hernandez as the third overall pick of the Rule 5 Draft. The 24-year old went a combined 4-4 with eight saves and a 3.32 ERA between High-A Great Lakes and Double-A Tulsa in 2022.
During his last 15 outings from the middle of August through to the end of the season with Tulsa, he recorded a 2.93 ERA.
Hernandez was originally signed by the Dodgers as an undrafted free agent on 12th May, 2016.