Some completely out of nowhere news about today’s Rule 5 draft from the New York Post:
INDIANAPOLIS — Barring a last-second trade, the Yankees plan to take outfielder Jamie Hoffman from the Dodgers as the first pick in this morning’s Rule 5 Draft, the Post has learned.
The Yankees obtained the pick earlier this week from the Nationals in exchange for Brian Bruney.
The Yanks are not often viewed as a team that can stash a player on the 25-man roster for an entire season. But for the price of $50,000, they will see if Hoffman can stick around as a reserve.
Can’t say I saw that coming. If you’re not familiar with the Rule 5 draft, minor leaguers who have been professionals for a certain number of years (varies based on age and when drafted) yet who aren’t on the 40-man roster are eligible. A player who gets selected must be kept on his new team’s active roster (or disabled list) all year, and cannot be sent to the minors. If they can’t keep him on the roster, his original team gets the chance to reclaim him.
Thanks to Hoffmann’s bizarre resigning after being DFA’d last year, he couldn’t be put back on the 40-man until May – still not sure why that was the case. Point being, now the Yankees have to keep him on their roster all season, or offer him back to the Dodgers – and that’s why we’re going to see him again.
Hey, Hoffmann’s a nice enough part. He’s an excellent defensive outfielder, which is fine. But he’s never really been anything like a top prospect. If you remember, he only got a shot in the bigs last year because Manny got suspended and both Xavier Paul (in the bigs) and Jason Repko (in the minors) got hurt.
At 25, there’s not a whole lot of projection left for him. What you see from Hoffmann is basically what you’re going to get, and that’s a nice defensive outfielder who can draw a walk, and doesn’t have a whole lot of power (a .401 SLG in your minor league career isn’t going to get you that far in the bigs). What’s really confounding about this is that the Yankees already have two guys like that – Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner – and either way, New York isn’t exactly the kind of place where you can stash a guy on the end of your bench all season long.
So, good for Hoffmann, I suppose, because he’ll get more of a shot to make the roster in New York than he would with the Dodgers in 2010. Kind of a confounding move from the Yankees, but five will get you ten that he gets offered back to the Dodgers at some point this year.
At which point, the major question will be… can the Dodgers afford the $25,000 it would take to get him back?
Update: the more I think about this, the worse it looks for the Dodgers. They’re still carrying Jason Repko on the 40-man until he inevitably gets non-tendered, and while the terms of Hoffmann’s resigning meant he couldn’t be on the 40-man right now, he never should have been off in the first place. Here’s what I said when he re-signed:
I didn’t mention it at the time, but his being DFA’d never made sense in the first place – it absolutely should have been Jason Repko, who’s 4 years older than Hoffmann, is being outhit by him in AAA this year (.815 OPS to .800), wasn’t rated the best defensive outfielder in the system by Baseball America (as Hoffmann was) and is almost certainly going to be an ex-Dodger after the season.
For once, this isn’t about money – just horrible asset management.
Update 2: Hey, remember about 5 minutes ago in the first update when I said “they’re still carrying Jason Repko on the 40-man until he inevitably gets non-tendered”? Turns out it wasn’t so inevitable after all. Dylan Hernandez with the news:
The Dodgers will tender contracts to all of the arbitration-eligible players under their control, GM Ned Colletti said.
You can’t possibly think of enough of Repko to go to arbitration with him, right? What in the world does he offer that Xavier Paul or Hoffmann doesn’t?