The Rule 5 Picks

By Jason Wojciechowski on March 25, 2007 at 10:07 PM

As far as I can remember, the last Rule 5 pick the A's held on to was Mike Neu. He threw 42 innings out of the bullpen for the A's in 2003 after spending the last couple of years in the Cincinnati system. He had an impressive ERA (under four), but he also had more walks than strikeouts. He was included in the Mark Redman trade, and spent all but four innings of 2004 in AAA. He spent his entire 2005 in AAA. Neither year was a pleasant one for him, as his ERA was over five each time. He appears to not have pitched in MLB-affiliated ball last year.

In other words, it's not an auspicious recent history. That said, the A's are excited enough about lefty Jay Marshall that they apparently want to keep him. Marshall's 24. He spent three years in Rookie ball before moving up to Class-A Winston-Salem (Chicago White Sox' system) last year and absolutely dominating it out of the bullpen: 62 innings, 1.02 ERA, two homers, eight walks, 44 strikeouts. It's not clear why it took him so long to get out of Rookie ball, because he's been putting up great walk and strikeout numbers all the way along.

It's not clear what role Marshall would play, but I'd have to guess it'd be similar to Neu's role four years ago: mop-up. If he works out, then the A's may have found themselves another bullpen asset, something they've been really good at finding the last couple of years.

In other Rule 5 news, Oakland apparently wants to keep Ryan Goleski as well, though they may not be willing to carry him on the major league roster the whole year. They're apparently looking to work out a trade with the Indians for him. That may be a tough sell, because the Indians aren't a stupid team. On the other hand, they were willing to leave him unprotected despite his being 24 and having reached AA (and having hit well there).

The A's probably have some leeway in terms of working the deal out because of Bobby Kielty's injury. He still hasn't returned to game action, so it's highly unlikely he'll be on the roster come Opening Day, meaning that the A's could carry Goleski for a little while longer than they might if Kielty were healthy and ready to start with Oakland.