Teams must protect players who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft by placing them on the 40-man roster prior to 5 p.m. on November 20th. Any player who is eligible and not protected by that time can be drafted by any other team in the Rule 5 Draft, which occurs on the final day of the Winter Meetings in December, provided the drafting team has a spot for the player on their 40-man roster.
If a team drafts a player in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, he must remain on the 25-man roster for the entire upcoming season or be offered back to his original team. A team pays $50,000 to draft a player and receives $25,000 back if his original team takes him back, if offered.
To be eligible for the draft, a player who was 18 or younger when he first signed a professional contract and this is the fifth Rule 5 Draft since he signed. For players who were 19 or older, teams have one less season, meaning that they are eligible if that year’s draft is the fourth Rule 5 Draft since they signed. It does not matter if a player played in the first season during or after which they signed.
Enyel De Los Santos