The Blue Jays had a hard go of it yesterday at the Rule-5 draft when both Jordan Romano and Travis Bergen were lost to other teams. Then in a desperation move to try and make up for the loss of two such players, Toronto went ahead and selected an 18-year old pitcher, Elvis Luciano, who’s never even played above Rookie ball.
The deadline for finalizing 40-man rosters prior to the Rule-5 draft was November 20. On that date, the Blue Jays loaded-up their 40-man with pitchers by adding Trent Thornton, Hector Perez, Yennsy Diaz, Patrick Murphy, and Jacob Waguespack. Apparently they didn’t add enough pitchers though, as Bergen and Romano were scooped up with two of the first eight picks in the draft.
I could live with the Blue Jays losing players this way if those same players weren’t deserving of inclusion on the 40-man roster. The problem with losing Romano and Bergen, is that the Blue Jays decided to keep several players (i.e. Joe Biagini, Jonathan Davis, Dwight Smith, Mark Leiter) on the 40-man who would have been far less likely to be plucked away in the draft.
Toronto wasn’t even planning on selecting a player in the 1st round yesterday. It wasn’t until they lost two of their own that they felt the need to do something drastic by taking Luciano. Which in itself is a highly questionable move, given Luciano’s age and lack of experience in professional baseball.
Twenty bucks says the Blue Jays don’t even select Luciano if Bergen and Romano aren’t taken. The Blue Jays front office shouldn’t have been caught off-guard by losing these players. In fact, they should consider themselves lucky they didn’t lose more than just the two on account of their poor judgement as to who to protect.
As for Luciano who turns 19 in February, how in the world do the Blue Jays plan to carry him for the entire 2019 season? Having never played above Rookie ball, he’ll now be expected to pitch as a reliever in the major leagues. The whole idea of the Rule-5 draft is to keep prospects from wasting away in one organization’s farm system when they have the talent to possibly make it in the big leagues with another ball club. Luciano was only available because of a technicality anyway. And despite what he might be thinking, the Blue Jays certainly aren’t doing him any favours when it comes to his development.