All afternoon, Astros twitter was fuming that flame-throwing righty Michael Feliz had been left off of the Astros 40-man roster. A few hours later, that mistake was rectified, as reported by Brian McTaggart via Twitter.
McTaggart also provided some insight as to why Feliz was left off of the roster in the first place.
One can only speculate what move could have been in the works. It could either have involved Feliz, or the move could have been adding two players to the 40-man roster, and Feliz would have been removed anyway. The addition of Feliz to the 40-man roster protects him from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft on December 11th, with rosters being due on Thursday at midnight EST.
Feliz is protected, and all is right in the world. However, the Astros still have an open roster spot, which means that they will have a selection in the upcoming Rule 5 draft. The Rule 5 FAQs from MLB.com are here, but here is the gist of it. If a team has less that 40 players on their 40-man roster, they get a draft pick. The draft is in reverse order of the previous season’s record. This season, the Astros finished with the 26th best record in baseball, so they will be drafting 5th, assuming that Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Minnesota all have vacancies as well.
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Players that were 19 or older when they were signed, and have played professional baseball for four years or more are eligible to be drafted. The same goes for players that signed when they were 18 or younger, and have played for five years. This is why having the right players on your 40-man roster is a big deal, because that makes them ineligible to be drafted.
There is also some money that goes between teams if a player is selected, with the amounts ranging for Triple-A draft picks and Double-A draft picks.
Finally, a player that is drafted to a new team, must stay on that team’s 25-man roster (the big league team) for an entire season. Let’s play that out for a minute with Michael Feliz. Say Feliz was not put on the 40-man roster, and was drafted to another team. He would have to remain on that team’s major league roster for the entire 2015 season, or be offered back to the Astros.
Feliz, having reached only A ball, would likely have had a tough time sticking in the majors, and would have likely been offered back to the Astros. The Astros, with an extra pick, could have received two draft picks in the Rule 5 Draft, and added one or two players that could get a chance at the big league level. Rule 5 picks don’t always work out, but every now and again, a team finds lightning in a bottle.