NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Houston Astros, who have lost a combined 213 games over the last two seasons, and Florida Marlins, who have gutted their roster this winter after finishing last in the National League East, each made two picks in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday as the Winter Meetings concludes at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort.
The Astros used the first overall selection to take right-hander Josh Fields from the Boston Red Sox. In the second round, Houston choose first baseman Nate Freiman from the San Diego Padres.
Fields, 27, was a combined 4-2 with 12 saves and a 2.01 ERA last season with Class AA Portland and Class AAA Pawtucket. He was the Seattle Mariners' first-round pick in the 2008 amateur draft.
Freiman, 25, played at Class AA San Antonio this year and hit .298 with 24 home runs and 105 RBIs in 137 games. He's a monstrous presence at the plate, standing 6-7. He left Duke as the school's career home run leader and hit four home runs in 13 at-bats in the WBC as the starting first baseman for the Isreali national team.
The Marlins are stocking up on young players after trading veteran stars such as infielder Hanley Ramirez, shortstop Jose Reyes, left-hander Mark Buehrle and closer Heath Bell since last July. The Marlins tapped outfielder Alfredo Silverio from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round and left-hander Brauilo Lara from the Tampa Bay Rays in the second round.
Silverio, 25, missed all last season after suffering back, shoulder, elbow and neck injuries in an automobile accident. In 2011, he hit .306 with 16 homers, 85 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 132 games with Class AA Chattanooga.
The 23-year-old Lara pitched at high Class A Charlotte last season, going 6-10 with a 5.71 ERA in 25 games, 21 starts.
Shortstop Angel Sanchez, who was taken by the Chicago White Sox from the Los Angeles Angels, was the only player with major-league experience among the Rule 5 picks.
Sanchez has hit .255 with one home run in 184 games over three seasons with Kansas City (2006), Boston (2010-11) and Houston (2011). He spent last season with the Astros' Class AAA Oklahoma farm club and had a .320 batting average with five homers and 45 RBIs in 107 games.
Players are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if they are not on the 40-man roster either four or five years after signing their first professional contract, depending on how old they were when they signed. The drafting club must pay the player's original team $50,000. The player must stay on the drafting team's major-league roster throughout the entire season or be offered back to his original club for $25,000 if he clears waivers.
There were 15 picks in the Major League phase of the draft, including:
The Chicago Cubs selecting right-hander Hector Rondon from the Cleveland Indians.
The Colorado Rockies selecting left-hander Daniel Rosenbaum from the Washington Nationals.
The Minnesota Twins selecting right-hander Ryan Pressly from the Red Sox.
The Indians selecting first baseman Chris McGuiness from the Texas Rangers.
The Red Sox selecting second baseman Chris Kobernus from the Nationals.
The New York Mets selecting right-hander Kyle Lobstein from the Rays.
The Arizona Diamondbacks selecting right-hander Starling Peralta from the Cubs.
The Philadelphia Phillies selecting outfielder Ender Inciarte from the Diamondbacks.
The Baltimore Orioles selecting left-hander T.J. McFarland from the Indians.
The Texas Rangers selecting right-hander Coty Woods from the Rockies.