Prior to the 3:00 p.m. PT deadline on Friday, the Los Angeles Angels made what appeared to be a very simple set of roster moves. They put reliever Elvis Peguero on the 40-man roster, outright catcher Chad Wallach to Triple-A, and released Junior Guerra.
However, this move ensures that Peguero will not be poached by another team in December’s Rule 5 Draft. The Rule 5 Draft allows teams without complete 40-man rosters to select non-40-man rostered players from other teams.
Players signed to an MLB roster at 18 years of age or younger must be protected within five years, while players signed at 19 or older must be protected within four.
Peguero was the only eligible player that the Angels chose to protect by placing him on the 40-man roster. Peguero was acquired by the Angels in July of 2021 in the deal that sent Andrew Heaney to the New York Yankees, and he is currently the No. 23 ranked player in the Angels Minor League system.
The Angels used Peguero for 2.1 innings toward the end of the 2021 season, but he struggled mightily, giving up seven runs in that short time. However, he is just 24, and had a combined 3.43 ERA and 11.2 K-per-nine throughout all levels of the Minors in 2021.
Among the named the Angels didn’t protect in the Rule 5 Draft are No. 10 prospect D’Shawn Knowles, No. 12 prospect Livan Soto, No. 20 prospect Robinson Pina, No. 26 prospect Orlando Martinez, and unranked prospects Michael Stefanic and Connor Higgins.
While all these players are now eligible to be poached, there is reason to believe they won’t be. Any player who is selected in the Rule 5 Draft must remain on the new team’s active roster for the entirety of the following season. If not, he must be returned to his original club in exchange for $50,000.
Outside of Stefanic, none of these players are close to pro-ready. Teams would have to use a 26-man roster spot on a player who is not yet ready to play in the Majors, effectively wasting that place on the team. The Angels don’t view anyone as a risk to be drafted, except for Peguero.
Now, the Angels just have to wait and see which, if any, of their players are taken.
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