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Dodgers lose Ryan Noda, Jose Hernandez, Gus Varland in Rule 5 Draft

LA adds three players in minor league phase

Mar 21, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Ryan Noda (93) dives for a ball in the second inning during a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch-Glendale. Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The final day of the winter meetings in San Diego featured the Rule 5 Draft, with the Dodgers losing three in the major league portion of the draft on Wednesday afternoon. The Dodgers also selected three players and lost a pair in the minor league phase of the draft.

The A’s took first baseman/outfielder Ryan Noda second overall, left-handed pitcher Jose Hernandez went third to the Pirates, and right-hander Gus Varland was selected 10th overall by the Brewers.

Players selected in the major league portion of the Rule 5 Draft are immediately added to the 40-man roster of their new team. They cannot be optioned in 2023, and must either be active or on the injured list for the entire season for the new team to keep them (a player must have at least 90 days on the active roster). Drafting teams pay $100,000 to the old team, and should they want to send a Rule 5 selection to the minors next year must first offer them back to their old team for half the price.

Noda hit .259/.395/.474 with a 120 wRC+ for Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, playing first base in 80 percent of his starts and corner outfield spots in the rest of his time in the field. On a recent Baseball America podcast, Geoff Pontes was particularly high on Noda as a potential Rule 5 selection.

“I look at his ability to get on base. I look at the power. I don’t think the contact is that much of a deterrent overall,” Pontes said. “And the fact that he’s actually a good defensive first baseman, and can provide some value there.”

Noda, who was acquired as one of two players to be named later in the Ross Stripling trade from August 2020, hit 25 home runs, 23 doubles, and had 20 stolen bases for OKC, and walked at a 16-percent clip. He turns 27 in March.

Hernandez had a 3.32 ERA between Double-A Tulsa and High-A Great Lakes in 2022, with 69 strikeouts and 25 walks in 59⅔ innings over 51 games. He was signed by the Dodgers out of the Dominican Republic in 2016. Hernandez turns 25 on New Year’s Eve.

Varland was acquired in the Adam Kolarek/Sheldon Neuse trade from Oakland in 2021. The 26-year-old right-hander posted a 6.11 ERA in 70⅔ innings for Tulsa in 2022.

In the minor league phase of the draft, the Dodgers did select a trio of players.

Right-hander Yon Castro came from the Yankees, where he put up a 3.59 ERA in Low-A Tampa, with 103 strikeouts (28.5 percent) and 31 walks in 87⅔ innings in 22 games, including 20 starts last year. He turns 24 in May.

Carlo Reyes is a 24-year-old right-handed pitcher who put up a 3.54 ERA with 62 strikeouts and 19 walks in 56 innings for High-A Jersey Shore and Double-A Reading in 2022. 11⅔ of those innings came in Double-A, in which he had a 6.17 ERA with eight strikeouts and six walks.

Josh Stowers hit .222/.331/.374 with 10 home runs, 20 doubles, and 22 stolen bases in 105 games for Double-A Frisco in the Rangers system in 2022, while playing mostly center field and right field. He was originally drafted in the second round in 2018 by the Mariners.

The Dodgers lost catcher Kekai Rios to the Blue Jays in this phase of the draft. Rios hit .219/.319/.317 in 71 games, all but three of them with Double-A Tulsa. The 25-year-old catcher came to the Dodgers in last year’s Rule 5 Draft, also in the minor league portion, from Milwaukee.

Right-handed pitcher Jose Martinez was plucked from the Dodgers by the Cardinals. Martinez had a 5.16 ERA with 45 strikeouts and 32 walks in 61 innings, between Double-A Tulsa (58 IP) and Triple-A Oklahoma City (3 IP). He turns 24 in April.

There are no roster requirements in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, with players simply switching teams. None of those players are on 40-man rosters.