Three weeks from now, baseball executives and other staff members among with media, job seekers, and fans, will gather in Las Vegas for the 2018 Baseball Winter Meetings. At the end of the four-day event will be the Rule 5 Draft. And today is the deadline for teams to protect players from being taken in that draft by adding them to the 40-man roster.
The Rule 5 Draft is held each December at the end of the Winter Meetings and is meant as a way to prevent teams from hoarding all the best players in their farm system when those players could potentially be getting Major League playing time with other teams. Players who are not on their respective teams' 40-man rosters are drafted (using the same draft order as the First Year Player Draft of the following year) and immediately added to their new team's 25-man roster, where they must remain for the entirety of the following season (or otherwise placed on waivers and sign with another team, or returned to their former team).
The Padres are in a much different position this Winter than they have been in previous years. In 2015 they chose four players in the Rule 5 Draft, with Luis Perdomo and Jabari Blash making it to the end of the season. In 2016 they had a very successful Rule 5 Draft, with three players making it all the way to the end of the season: Miguel Diaz, Luis Torrens, and Allen Cordoba. Aside from Blash, these players remain in the organization. But in 2017, the Padres didn't select any players from the Rule 5 Draft.
Going into this offseason, the Padres boasted the top farm system in the league, so it'll be interesting to see who they will choose to protect at today's 5:00 pm PT deadline. Some of the top prospects believed to be added to the 40-man roster today include Chris Paddack, Austin Allen, Anderson Espinoza, Edward Olivares, and Pedro Avila. But there are several players who seem eligible to be designated for assignment after some unimpressive performances this past season, so it shouldn't be too difficult for the Padres to make room for some of the younger players with perhaps more potential for success in this organization.