The Detroit Tigers have 35 men on their roster heading into today’s deadline to decide whether to protect certain players from being eligible for the Rule 5 draft. This is a tough decision because you can’t pack your roster too full, as then as you make signings in the offseason you’ll have to designate players for assignment and risk losing them. You also have to add any players you select in the draft, so there’s a happy medium to follow when making these choices.
(For reference, to be eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 draft, a player must meet two requirements: a) he must not be on the 40-man roster; and b) he must have been in the minors for at least four seasons if he was signed at age 19 or older, or five seasons if he was signed at age 18.)
I’m just going to run down some of the players who might or might not be added to the roster who are otherwise Rule 5 draft eligible. The Tigers could really add up to six players, because I think they plan on non-tendering Neftali Feliz, so designating him for assignment (an assignment he’ll refuse, entering him into the free agent pool) early won’t hurt the Tigers in any way.