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Nats take two pitchers in Rule 5

Dec 9, 2010, 2:19 PM EDT

Updated at 12:15 p.m.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Nationals selected a pair of right-handers in this morning's Rule 5 draft, swiping hard-throwing reliever Elvin Ramirez away from the Mets and sinkerball starter Brian Broderick away from the Cardinals.

Ramirez, 23, was 4-4 with a 4.16 ERA in 52 combined relief appearances between Class A St. Lucie and Class AA Binghamton last season. Signed in 2006 by New York out of the Dominican Republic, he was a starter in his first four minor-league seasons but was converted to a reliever this year.

With an impressive arsenal that includes a fastball clocked in the upper 90s and a power slider, Ramirez has often struggled with his command in the minors and last season issued 5.5 walks per nine innings. Nationals scouts saw his command significantly improve while pitching this winter in the Dominican Republic; he's posted a 26-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 15 appearances for the Gigantes del Cibao.

"The latter portion of the minor-league season and then this winter, he's taken it to a different level," GM Mike Rizzo said. "He's a big-arm guy, a big power guy that we hope helps us in the bullpen this year. … If he did throw enough strikes, his stuff is as good as anybody
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  1. MikeHarris - Dec 9, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    Why, I wonder? Do the Nats really have room to carry two pitchers on the 25-man this year? I suppose the price is low enough that they're worth a look – but Rule 5 requires them to be on the big-league team all year, right?

  2. Matt - Dec 9, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    So Ramirez and Broderick have to stay on the 25-man roster all season, or else be sent back to their respective teams? Is that correct?

  3. court - Dec 9, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    Yes, you buy a Rule 5 guy for like $40K and if you can't keep him on the MLB 25-man, you have to offer him back to his orginial team for half the fee you paid to get him. Lots of times, a trade is worked out and the drafting team can send the guy down. Ramirez is tearing/tore up the Dominican League this winter and can touch 98. Broderick is a 6'6" starter with decent, if not eye-popping, stats in AA. His splits say he can't get LH's out so I doubt he'll have much of a chance to stick. Broderick is the better candidate to make a deal for, while Rameriz is a better bet to make the bullpen. He could fill Perralta's spot or maybe take Balesters, imo.

  4. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    per wiki – To prevent excessive turnover in the minor league levels, each draftee costs $50,000. If the draftee does not stay on the selecting team's 25-man (major league) roster all season, the player must be offered back to his original team at half-price. Organizations may also draft players from AA or lower to play for their AAA affiliates (for $12,000) and may draft players from A teams or lower to play for their AA affiliates (for $4,000).does this mean they can play the season at AAA

  5. raymitten - Dec 9, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    I think Mark is right, they need to be kept up for the entire year — I remember that being a big issue w/ Flores. Usually I think teams negotiate a trade for the player if they dont' want to keep him up for the entire year. In Flores case, the Mets really didn't want to lose him so the Nats had him on the major league club the whole season.

  6. Anonymous8 - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    The Phillies like the Nats castoffs. Pete Orr and now Michael Martinez.

  7. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    That 2007 Rule 5 draft yielded two winners for the Nats. Everyone knows and loves Jesus Flores, but what could ever top Gal Revels in Pee? (Not to mention the reverse lock win against Johan Santana.)

  8. Slopitchtom - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    Ladson just tweeted that Rizzo has confirmed the Nats have made a formal offer to Cliff Lee.

  9. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    Also, in some instances, the original team can decide that they do not want to take the player back for the $25,000 fee and they can then be optioned to the minors.

  10. Steveospeak - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    Yes they have to both be on the 25 man roster all season (or the M.L. DL) or be offered back to their original team for half price. Some times the original team doesn't want them back, but the only other way to keep a player is to work out a trade. Usually it is nothing significant, mainly cash considerations. @Anon- There is a separate AAA and AA phase for those lower costs, Ramirez and Broderick have to be on the Major league roster.My take: Ramirez is interesting, though I would have like Brad Emaus especially if Desmond or Espinosa might be traded. Emaus is a 2B/3B Utl. type of player (prob. can't play short but maybe a little 1B/Corner OF). Not the greatest defender or runner, but he does hit the ball well. He would have been a nice stopgap if we were reshuffling our middle infield. Anuery Rodriguez is another name I would have maybe taken over Ramirez (who I do think should stick). He is more likely a back of the rotation starter, but I'd consider him a better option than say a Stammen type and he has a little upside. If you can get a 4th or 5th starter for the National League for $50K that doesn't sound like a bad option.I don't know much about Broderick, but I have a hard time believing he will stick. I'm surprised they didn't try a lefty reliever since they might be easier to carry.

  11. Ken - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    I'm not the least bit impressed with the Nats Rule 5 selections, and even less impressed by the Nats scouting staff right now. I researched all the eligible players and there were at least a dozen pitchers with more consistent and much better numbers, and none those players was 27 years old stuck in AA.In my opinion, the Nats wasted $100,000 on two pitchers who might not even good enough to make the Syracuse roster.

  12. sec3mysofa - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    Emaus was in the Rule 5 draft?

  13. sec3 - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    I suspect strongly they had actual professional scouts watching actual professional baseball games, not just somebody doing research on the interwebs. And they wasted $50K at most, if you're right and these guys aren't keepers.

  14. Mark Zuckerman - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    Slopitchtom said…Ladson just tweeted that Rizzo has confirmed the Nats have made a formal offer to Cliff Lee.False report. Rizzo met with all of us after the Rule 5 draft and when asked whether he had made Lee a formal offer, replied: "I'm not going to comment on that."I think it's probably safe to assume the Nats did make an offer for Lee at some point. But Rizzo clearly didn't confirm it publicly this morning.

  15. natsfan1a - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    Are you saying, sec3, that these scouts did not consult blogs and message boards for guidance? I'm shocked, shocked!

  16. Feel Wood - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    "False report. Rizzo met with all of us after the Rule 5 draft and when asked whether he had made Lee a formal offer, replied: "I'm not going to comment on that."Mark, I thought you were a better reporter than this. Everyone knows "no comment" means "yes". Now get out there and find out what color tux Rizzo was wearing when he made the formal offer. (Hmmm. Does Tommy Bahama make tuxes?)

  17. Kenz aFan - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Sec3Yes, I know in the end it's only $50,000 wasted, but to get there, they still had to shell out $100K for a pair of players who might not have even gotten drafted in the AAA phase of the draft.As for my research on the interweb (whatever that is), neither player was even in the top 100 available players. As for the "professional scouts" I am willing to wager that they the ones on hand in Orlando didn't see very many minor league games, because they were too busy scouting high school, college and Major League games/players.

  18. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Kilgore says that Ramirez has touched 100 in the Dominican League this winter. Seems like a worthy flyer to me. The worst thing that happens is that the team spent $25k to repeat the Daniel Cabrera experiment (A fraction the price the team paid to test Cabrera).

  19. sec3MySofa - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    Teh Inter-tubes. my bad.and you are willing to bet, eh? How much, and how could we settle it?

  20. Sec3MySofa - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    srsly, you're P&M'ing about a crummy $50 grand of the LERNER'S money??

  21. Sec3MyBad - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    OK, now I'm just getting cranky. Sorry.

  22. natsfan1a - Dec 9, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    Sec3, take two of these. You'll feel better. (I especially like #2 and #6).http://www.sacbee.com/2010/10/23/3126982/giants-and-phillies-nlcs-game.html

  23. pdowdy83 - Dec 9, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    @kenz afan, I'm not sure where you got your information from but Ramirez was widely speculated to go #1 in the rule 5 draft yesterday. There were even reports that the Yankees tried to trade up in the draft to get him. The kid is 23 and throws gas, always worth a look for 25k. Id say it is a much better investment than signing another miguel batista type on a minor league contract. It is all about the upside.Now I don't really get the Broderick move.

  24. joemktg - Dec 9, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    I listened to the Rizzo recording, and to the question regarding if he made an offer, he clearly said "I have, but I'm not going to comment on that." Goessling has the recording at http://snd.sc/h936iU.

  25. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    One of the so-called scouts who offered the information on Ramirez to Rizzo was Franklyn Bravo, according to Kilgore. Bravo was the pitching coach on the Dominican team and was the pitching coach of the Vermont Lake Monsters last season. Hopefully, Bravo will help ensure the Lerner's didn't waste any precious dollars!

  26. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    Mutual Interest Between Orioles, Adam LaRocheBy Tim Dierkes [December 9 at 9:24am CST]The Orioles and first baseman Adam LaRoche have mutual interest, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. No formal offer has been made yet.The Nationals and LaRoche reportedly have mutual interest as well, so he seems likely to land with one of these teams.————————————————An early round of the 2011 Battle of the Beltways brewing here, perhaps? Any way the Nats can keep Nyjer Morgan out of this one so he doesn't eff it up?

  27. phil dunn - Dec 9, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    Every once in awhile, a Rule 5 draft pick turns out to be a gem but this is certainly the exception. I recall three or four years ago, the Reds selected Josh Hamilton from the Rays in the Rule 5 draft and that turned out to be a big winner. Of course, everyone knew Hamilton had huge talent but he had a history of alcohol and drug problems that nearly ruined his promising career.

  28. Wally - Dec 9, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    Does anyone know the rules on the Triple A guy they also drafted? Does he have to stay on their AAA club all year, or is he just part of their organization now (like, they bought him)?

  29. pdowdy83 - Dec 9, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    Other rule 5 success stories would be Uggla, Johan Santana, Joakim Soria and Shane Victorino (2x).

  30. sec3 - Dec 9, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    "Bravo was the pitching coach on the Dominican team and was the pitching coach of the Vermont Lake Monsters last season."How the foxtrot is that a "so-called" scout??

  31. sec3 - Dec 9, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    Wally, I'm just guessing, but the point of the Rule 5 Draft is to keep the guys on the drafting team's roster, so I imagine it works the same as the MLB version.

  32. natsfan1a - Dec 9, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    I think this guy worked out okay, too.http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/clemero01.shtml—pdowdy83 said… Other rule 5 success stories would be Uggla, Johan Santana, Joakim Soria and Shane Victorino (2x). December 9, 2010 11:51 AM

  33. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    Sounds like Martinez might be a better version of Juan Jaime … hopefully not as many injury issues?

  34. Wally - Dec 9, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    Sec 3 – thx

  35. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Dec 9, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    The most sobering line Mark has ever written:Other Rule 5 picks in Nationals history include: Tony Blanco, Tyrell Godwin, Matt Whitney, Garrett Guzman, Terrell Young and Jamie Hoffman. Murderers' Row, that ain't. And it doesn't even include Levale Speigner. I swear that kid didn't weight 140 pounds, and I don't think he ever broke 85 on any radar gun.I look at these Rule5 guys like someone playing to hit "00" on the roulette wheel. For every Josh Hamilton, there are 99 Levale Speigners.

  36. sec3mysofa - Dec 9, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    Actually, that must be an accessible stat. How many Rule 5 guys do pan out? Say, stay on the drafting teams roster all year, AND stay in MLB for at least, what, a year? after that?

  37. Doc - Dec 9, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    Ramirez really might have significantly improved in the Winter League from last season in the minors. His Ks are up by about 4+ per 9,and his Walks are down about -4 per 9. Maybe its the weather!Good for the Nats on keeping their Winter League network operating!

  38. sec3 - Dec 9, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    a brief bit of googling estimates (very roughly) around 10% stay with the drafting teams. Not so bad for a minimal investment.

  39. Sec 3 - Dec 9, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    "[Broderick is] going to have to outperform them and outpitch them," Rizzo said. "It's going to be a competition at the back end of the bullpen, and that's just the way we like it. I think competition breeds giving it your best. And I think this guy is going to go into spring training with a chance to make the club."Could be they're lighting $25,000 on fire under somebody's butt. Not such a bad idea, really.

  40. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    This was a waste, the Nats spent time worrying about hitting the lotto instead of finding two front of the rotation starters, a 1B and a CF at the winter meetings….all talk no action since 2005! :(

  41. Kenz aFan - Dec 9, 2010 at 8:05 PM

    My bad on both Ramirez and Broderick, I was looking at the wrong lines in my spreadsheet and attached reports, because the names column was out of sync.I agree that Ramirez, who's been improving a little bit each year, looks like he could become a serviceable setup guy, especially if, as reports say, he's found the strike zone. If that's the case, he could be a steal at $50K.Broderick has a bit (but not a lot) of upside, especially if how he pitched after his promotion is an indication of his future value and abilities. His biggest asset is his age and his ability to get hitters to hit ground balls.

  42. Sue Dinem - Dec 9, 2010 at 10:25 PM

    In the minor-league phase, there is no requirement to keep the player at a particular level. Nick Moresi, for example, was chosen last year in the AAA phase and spent all season at Potomac (Hi-A).

  43. Sec3MySofa - Dec 10, 2010 at 1:21 AM

    Thanks for the correction, Boy Named…

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