St. Louis Cardinals: Rule 5 Draft approaches and some need saving

DENVER, CO - MAY 26: Pitcher Matt Bowman
DENVER, CO - MAY 26: Pitcher Matt Bowman /

The St. Louis Cardinals face the Rule 5 Draft deadline on Monday. Will they save who they should?

The St. Louis Cardinals have approximately 50 players in their organization who could call another organization home after Monday’s Rule 5 Draft deadline. The way to protect a player from being claimed by another team is to move said player onto the 40-man roster.

Oh, and before we move on, let me point out that the St. Louis Cardinals currently have five slots open on the 40-man.

So, who is eligible for Rule 5 and who should be saved?

First in my book is Patrick Wisdom. The dude had a stellar year in 2017 and had many people wondering why he wasn’t called up to the majors. In his time in Memphis in 2017, Wisdom smashed 31 home runs and accounted for 89 RBIs.

As Jenifer Langosch highlighted in her piece today, Wisdom has been passed over in the Rule 5 Draft twice now already. But, like Langosch, I’m not sold that he would face the same fate this season.

Noting that, the St. Louis Cardinals MUST move Wisdom to the 40-man roster. This leaves four more spots. I should also note here that should the Cardinals fill these four spots with Rule-5-eligible players, then they would be absolutely forced to trade away 40-man players in order to get someone else this offseason.

In other words, if the organization fills all five open 40-man spots, the chance that they will sign a free agent dwindles but does not disappear. It would not be without question for the Cardinals to release a player in the winter to drop them off the 40-man to make a spot for an incoming free agent.

Back to the list… I think the St. Louis Cardinals would be making a gigantic mistake by not moving Tyler O’Neill to the 40-man immediately. If the Cardinals allow O’Neill to sit out there and get taken in the Rule 5 Draft, then they completely threw away the value in Marco Gonzales. And that would infuriate me.

O’Neill is far too valuable to the club as outfield insurance (with good pop in his bat) should the St. Louis Cardinals NOT trade for a big outfield bat. Read: If Stephen Piscotty has another rough year with injury.

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Another name the Cards should 100 percent stick on the 40-man and protect is Austin Gomber. While Langosch mentions Oscar Mercado, and while I like him, I just don’t think this third spot should go to him. Yes, the St. Louis Cardinals run the risk of losing this rising star, but that assumes that he will make the big league club with another team if picked and I’m not sold about that.

Back to Gomber, then. Pushing his performance aside, Gomber is a rising pitcher and those kinds of players carry with them great value. Should he never meet expectations for the St. Louis Cardinals, he could add value as a package in a trade.

If you notice, I am leaving two slots open. I just can’t bring myself to filling all the spots with supposed Rule 5 targets. One, filling them all would assume that the Cardinals are not interested in other names who could become available via Rule 5. Two, filling them all would prohibit the club from getting any free agents to help the bullpen situation which- to me- seems a viable option for this offseason.

Next: Blockbuster Seattle

Either way, the clock is ticking. We will know soon as to the direction of the team in regard to Rule 5.