The Mets swung a trade, lost a young starting pitching prospect and added significant upper-Minors depth on Thursday during a busy Rule 5 Draft.
In a common type of draft day deal, the Mets selected right-handed pitcher Luis Oviedo from the Indians with intentions to trade him to the Pirates for cash considerations, according to a source. Teams frequently use their Rule 5 Draft position to select players for other clubs, as the Mets have done multiple times in recent years.
The Mets also lost right-hander Dedniel Nunez to the Giants. A 2016 international signing out of the Dominican Republic, Nunez gave the Mets a glimpse of high-upside potential when he struck out 94 batters over 80 innings split between Class A Columbia and Class A St. Lucie in ’19. But the Mets, with expectations of a tight 40-man roster this winter, did not protect him in advance of the Rule 5 Draft. A rebuilding Giants team will need to keep Nunez on its roster for the entire ’21 season if it wants to retain his rights.
Rule 5 Draft regulations stipulate that selected players must remain on their new active roster or the injured list for at least a full season, or be offered back to their former clubs for half the $100,000 draft price. Teams can protect players from being drafted by placing them on their 40-man roster, but any player left unprotected is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft after four or five professional seasons, depending on their age.
The Mets have not kept a Rule 5 draftee since Sean Gilmartin in 2014. While success stories such as Johan Santana do exist, it is rare for a Rule 5 Draft pick to make a significant impact in the Majors. New York has six open spots on its 40-man roster, but the club figures to use most (if not all) of them on free-agent or trade acquisitions this winter.