Detroit Tigers pass in Rule 5 draft for first time since 2015, add two minor leaguers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Detroit Tigers passed in the Rule 5 draft for the first time since 2015.

The Tigers controlled No. 11 overall pick, based winning percentage from last season, but moved up to the No. 9 pick when the Los Angeles Angels and Pittsburgh Pirates passed on their selections.

Still, the Tigers passed on adding a player to their active roster.

The 2023 edition of the Rule 5 draft occurred Wednesday, the final day of the MLB winter meetings, at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville.

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The 2023 Rule 5 draft occurred Dec. 6, 2023, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
The 2023 Rule 5 draft occurred Dec. 6, 2023, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

In previous Rule 5 drafts, the Tigers selected right-hander Mason Englert in 2022, outfielder Akil Baddoo in 2020, righty Rony García in 2019, righty Reed Garrett in 2018, outfielder Victor Reyes in 2017 and left-hander Daniel Stumpf in 2016.

"It worked out pretty well last year," Scott Harris, the Tigers' president of baseball operations, said Monday. "We got Mason, and he's now ours. If there's an opportunity, we're going to grab it. We're a little bit further back in the line this year, which is unfortunate."

A player picked in the Rule 5 draft — for a $100,000 fee — needs to stay on the 26-man roster (or the injured list) for the entire season, which Englert accomplished in 2023. This season, though, the Tigers won't have to worry about the Rule 5 roster regulations.

The Tigers selected two players in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 draft: Texas Rangers right-hander Nick Starr and Oakland Athletics right-hander Calvin Coker.

Both pitchers join the Tigers' organization as minor-league players without any roster rules.

Starr, 27, posted a 5.96 ERA with 14 walks and 52 strikeouts over 48⅓ innings in 33 relief appearances in Double-A Frisco. Coker, 27, logged a 3.15 ERA with 24 walks and 49 strikeouts over 74⅓ innings in 45 relief appearances in Double-A Midland.

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Ten players were selected in the major-league phase of the Rule 5 draft: right-hander Mitch Spence to the Athletics, righty Matt Sauer to the Kansas City Royals, righty Anthony Molina to the Colorado Rockies, left-hander Shane Drohan to the Chicago White Sox, shortstop Nasim Nunez to the Washington Nationals, righty Ryan Fernandez to the St. Louis Cardinals, righty Justin Slaten to the New York Mets, third baseman Deyvison De Los Santos to the Cleveland Guardians, righty Stephen Kolek to the San Diego Padres and righty Carson Coleman to the Texas Rangers.

Two players — Kolek and Coleman — were picked after the Tigers passed.

The Tigers did not lose any players in the major-league or minor-league phase of the draft. Back in mid-November, the Tigers selected right-hander Wilmer Flores and catcher Dillon Dingler to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft.

Left-hander Andrew Magno, utility player Trei Cruz and outfielder Roberto Campos — left unprotected by the Tigers — were notable players eligible for the Rule 5 draft. All three of those players remain in the Tigers' organization.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers pass in Rule 5 draft for first time since 2015