Dodgers Lose Hoffmann In Rule 5 Draft

For a team operating against the limits of its budget, the Dodgers seem to be losing on the margins.  The latest example came this morning, when Jamie Hoffmann became a Yankee with the first pick of the Rule 5 draft.  Technically, the Nationals picked Hoffmann, but he was traded to the Yankees to complete the Brian Bruney trade.

There's a chance this will work out in the end for the Dodgers anyway, but losing Hoffmann was an unnecessary risk.  The Dodgers had 33 players on their 40-man roster, and unless you think the Dodgers will sign seven free agents, there is no reason Jamie Hoffmann couldn't have been added to the 40-man roster.  Especially when one of those roster spots is occupied by Jason Repko, an older player who isn't as good as Hoffmann, and is arbitration eligible, out of options, and likely to be non-tendered on Saturday anyway!

Per Rule 5 draft procedure, the Dodgers receive $50,000 from the Yankees (or Nationals; I'm not sure how they worked that out in the trade), and Hoffmann must stay on the Yankees' 25-man roster all season long, or they must offer him back to the Dodgers for half the Rule 5 fee ($25,000).  So there is a chance Hoffmann could still end up a Dodger by season's end, but losing him in the first place was unnecessary.

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UPDATE: per Dylan Hernandez, the Dodgers plan to tender contracts to all of their arbitration-eligible players by the Saturday deadline, meaning the Dodgers actually prefer Repko to Hoffmann.

UPDATE 2: per Silverwidow's detective work, it appears Repko amazingly still has an option remaining:

  • 2005: optioned for only nine days, less than the requisite 20 days to count as an optional assignment
  • 2006: only in minors on rehab assignment
  • 2007: on major league disabled list all year
  • 2008: first option year used
  • 2009: second option year used

UPDATE 3: Josh Rawitch on Inside the Dodgers had this to report:

Ned told the media today that he'd be comfortable with a healthy Jason Repko as the fourth or fifth outfielder and I know there are a lot of Repko fans in LA, myself included. He's a great kid with a lot of talent and hopefully he'll be healthy in 2010.

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In other Rule 5 news, the Giants selected reliever Steve Johnson, who was acquired from the Dodgers by the Orioles in July in the George Sherrill trade.

Also, per Dylan Hernandez, the Dodgers sent cash to the Mets for their Rule 5 pick, Carlos Monasterios.  Monasterios, acquired by the Phillies in the Bobby Abreu trade, will be 24 in March and had a 3.73 ERA mostly in high A ball in 2009.  The Dodgers must keep him on the 25-man roster all season long, or offer him back to Philadelphia for $25,000.

Hernandez chimes in with more news, that the Dodgers also sent cash to the Rays for their Rule 5 pick, Armando Zerpa.  Zerpa, who turns 23 in February, spent five years in the Red Sox system and never advanced past high A.  In his minor league career, the left-handed Zerpa averages five walks and nine strikeouts per nine innings. Like Monasterios, the Dodgers have to keep Zerpa on the active roster all season, or offer him back to the Sox. 

What are the odds both Monasterios and Zerpa stick with the team?  I would guess pretty low, especially with the bullpen depth the Dodgers currently have.  Might a trade or two be in the works?

The Dodgers now have 35 players on their 40-man roster.

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