Rule 5 picks face heavy odds

Rule 5 picks face heavy odds
December 7, 2012, 3:00 pm
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What do T.J. McFarland, Adrian Rosario, Alfredo Simon and Luke Hagerty all have in common?

All were Orioles picks in the Rule 5 draft.

McFarland was the Orioles pick in Thursday morning’s draft. The 23-year-old left-hander won 16 games in Double and Triple-A for Cleveland in 2012, and Dan Duquette raved about his ability to keep the ball down.

Last year, Ryan Flaherty was Duquette’s pick and he ended up staying with the Orioles all season. He may not do the same in 2013, but it was a better pick than Rosario, a fireballing right-hander who was quickly returned to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011.

Rule 5 picks must be kept on the roster all season or else be offered back to their original team.

The Orioles have had some success in Rule 5 picks. Simon wasn’t one of them. I didn’t realize until researching this that the Orioles selected him six years ago, but immediately traded him to the Phillies for a minor league catcher. Simon ended up in Baltimore in 2008.

Randor Bierd made the team in 2009, pitched poorly and disappeared.

In 1997, with the Orioles on their way to the American League Championship Series, they carried a Canadian pitcher named Mike Johnson until the trading deadline. After a 7.94 ERA in 14 games, he was sent to Montreal, where he pitched another four years.

They didn’t stay with their best pick long enough. In 2003, they chose Jose Bautista. After 16 games with three singles, Bautista moved on to Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Pittsburgh, all in 2004.

After he reached Toronto his career took off, and 183 home runs later, perhaps Bautista could have been that big bat the Orioles are still looking for.

Of course, the best pick was Jay Gibbons. In 2000, the Orioles picked him from Toronto’s organization, and he spent seven most interesting and controversial seasons with the team before being released just before the 2008 season.

If McFarland can even make the 2013 Orioles, that would a great achievement.