The Baltimore Orioles selected shortstop Richie Martin from the Oakland Athletics’ organization with the first overall pick in yesterday’s Rule 5 draft. This is course is the traditional “final act” of the annual Winter Meetings, which broke up after the draft concluded. GM Mike Elias on Martin:
Quote Courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports
With Richie, we saw him as an above-average defender with plus range and a plus arm at short, somebody that can also move over and play second base. He had a resurgence offensively this year in Double-A. He hit .300, he posted an .807 OPS, so we think that the bat is trending up. He might be an option for us at the shortstop position coming into spring training and we’ll see what he can do.
Later in the day Elias also made a trade, acquiring a second Rule 5 player in Drew Jackson. Philadelphia had taken the infielder from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ system earlier in the draft, and the Orioles sent international bonus slot money to Philadelphia for his rights. In five seasons in the minors, Jackson’s a career .269 hitter. He’s also swiped 106 bases over time, and is a solid middle infield prospect.
No team has taken the Rule 5 draft as seriously as the Orioles over the years, although that was in an effort to win now. At this point the Orioles are trying to build a team, so in fact it is a bit different. Now they’re exactly the type of organization that should be drafting Rule 5 players, whereas before they probably should have focused on making higher level trades and free agent signings.
Just as a reminder, both Martin and Jackson will need to remain on the Orioles’ roster all season. Otherwise they’ll be offered back to the Athletics/Dodgers. I suspect that this year that won’t be a problem given the fact that the O’s are simply looking for talent to plug in for the future.