Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Rule 5 Fun

Brian at Nationals Farm Authority takes a good look at the upcoming Rule 5 draft, throwing out some names and scouting reports of guys whom the Nats might be interested in.

One name he didn't list is one that's somewhat intriguing to me: Mark Johnson. Johnson was a minor-league free agent, and probably the best catcher available through the process. He signed with the Cardinals, but was left exposed to the draft. I have no idea whether the Nationals were interested in him in the first place, but if they were, his selection of St. Louis wouldn't be surprising, since, at the time of his signing, the Nats had two catchers, and the Cardinals were looking for a backup.

Now I'm not going to pretend that Johnson is particularly good. But he's left-handed. He's (essentially) freely available. And he had a pretty good year in the minors (Usual PCL warnings notwithstanding).

I don't know about his defense, but it can't be worse than Lo Duca's. And he would come at a fraction of the cost.

If there's someone on the board that the Nats like, I'd pass on him, and take my chances that he'd be around the second time through. If they select him, they could still sign a veteran free agent and give Flores more PT in the minors. Or they could live large and carry three catchers. (I hope not!)

We certainly expect big things from the Rule 5 draft. Flores is going to be a thorn on Mets fans' sides for years. And Luis Ayala was picked up that way. But for every success, there's Levale Speigner and Tony Flores. So every pick is its own little crapshoot.

So why not take a chance on a semi-disposable backup?

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