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Padres come away from Rule 5 draft with 4 players

After a sleepy 2014 Rule 5 draft, A.J. Preller makes some moves to take a chance on 4 overlooked players.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Rule 5 draft can be a pretty dull affair. These are players with pretty significant flaws in their game and the rules that teams have to follow aren't easily accomplished. However, when your team comes away with 4 players (each of which will hold down a spot on the 40 man roster through Spring Training) then it at least should raise a couple of eyebrows. The Padres did just that this morning when they selected 2 players in the first round, acquired another as a player to be named later from an earlier trade and then procured a 4th in a new trade.

As a friendly reminder, in order to keep Rule 5 picks the acquiring team must immediately put that player on their 40 man, keep that player rostered through Spring Training, then add the player to the 25 man roster on Opening Day and keep them rostered (or on the DL, if an injury occurs) through the rest of the season. No easy task for a player that his old team didn't even want on its 40 man roster.

The first 2016 Rule 5 pick to join the Padres today was RHP Josh Martin, formerly of the Cleveland Indians organization. Martin is an about-to-be-26 years old relief pitcher who progressed too slowly to ever get consideration by the Indians before becoming Rule 5 eligible. He was taken in the 10th round of the 2012 draft and didn't wow anyone in his first couple years in their farm system. The last two years have gone better, but since he never progressed past AA he was left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft. The Padres will likely have a healthy competition for the last few spots in their bullpen and the club will get a chance to look at his stuff in Spring Training and see if he can stick. AA to the majors can be a big jump for some, but Martin might be equipped.

The second pick the Padres made was RHP Blake Smith. Smith is a former 2nd round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2009 draft. Yes, 2009. He just turned 28 years old. There's gotta be something interesting about him that makes him worthy of selection at that age. There is, he converted to pitching as a 25 year old in 2013. He's got some command issues, but he also gets whiffs. The Padres' Senior Advisor to the General Manager/Pro Scouting Director Logan White was the Scouting Director for the Dodgers when they selected the converted RF and probably had some sway in this pick. The Dodgers dealt Smith to the White Sox last year, so if he doesn't beat the long odds to make the Padres he'll head back to the Pale Hose's farm system.

Anyone remember that there was a player to be named later in the Yonder Alonso/Marc Rzepczynski/Drew Pomeranz swap? Well today that player has a name. It is OF Jabari Blash from the Mariners organization. The A's selected him and sent him to the Padres. I kind of feel foolish for not realizing that a player to be named later in a trade close to the Rule 5 draft was going to be a pick from said draft, but we all let things slip our mind sometimes. The 26 year old's bat is full of pop as he slugged 32 HRs last year and has 109 in his 551 minor league games. If you count Wil Myers as a 1B, then the Padres currently have only 4 OFs that look likely to make the Opening Day roster (Kemp, Upton, Jankowski and the newly acquired John Jay). That means that Blash could come in as the 5th OF if the Padres don't sign or trade for a LF. One could envision a platoon involving Blash since Jay and Jankowski are LH and Upton and Blash are RH. Blash has a lot of swing and miss in his game so he also could easily be sent back to the Mariners if his March is full of whiffs.

The final Rule 5 player to come the Padres way came via a brand new trade. The Rockies selected a familiar name with their pick, but it's only the name that's familiar not the player. Colorado selected RHP Luis Perdomo from the Cardinals organization and traded him to the Padres for a player to be named later or cash. Perdomo is younger than the rest of this crop at just 22 years of age. St. Louis signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2010 when he was 17 and he progressed steadily until hitting a bit of a wall in 2014 while in A ball. He did earn a promotion to High A in 2015, but had some struggles there as well. Unlike Martin and Smith, Perdomo is a SP and that means making the big league club will be even harder for him because despite there being some rotation openings, it's a really tough ask of a player to pitch that many innings for the first and do it with quality after never pitching in the high minors. He did pitch in the MLB's futures game last year, so his talent is there and the Padres would probably love to keep him in their system, but it doesn't seem likely to happen.