The Nationals passed on making any selections in the Rule 5 Draft but saw two of their players taken. The Cardinals drafted outfielder Erik Komatsu, and the Yankees picked starting pitcher Brad Meyers, the Nationals’ 2009 minor league pitcher of the year.
“You can only protect so many players,” General Manager Mike Rizzo said. “We felt like we had enough depth to absorb” losing the players.
The Nationals acquired Komatsu, 24, at the trade deadline this season when they dealt Jerry Hairston to the Milwaukee Brewers. Komatsu played the remainder of the season at Class AA Harrisburg, and for the season he hit .277 with a .364 on-base percentage and seven homers. Rizzo said he anticipated the possibility of losing Komatsu when he traded Hairston, and that the Nationals’ depth at center field in the minors made him expendable.
Meyers, 26, began the season on a tear at Class AA Harrisburg and, after injury problems, reached Class AAA Syracuse. Meyers finished the season going 9-7 with a 3.18 ERA overall, including a 3.65 ERA in 95 2/3 innings at Syracuse. Meyers had an impressive 7.73 strikeout-to-walk rate. Rizzo said he actually anticipated losing more than one starting pitcher.
The Nationals received $50,000 from each team for the transaction. The Cardinals and Yankees will have to keep Komatsu and Meyers on their 25-man roster all season or return them back to the Nationals.
Last year, the Nationals lost utility man Michael Martinez to the Phillies in the Rule 5 draft, and the Phillies held on to him all season. The Nationals last year drafted pitchers Brian Broderick and Elvin Ramirez from the Cardinals and Mets, but neither player remained on their roster.
In the minor league portion of the draft, the Nationals took Class AA catcher Beua Seabury from the Colorado Rockies’ farm system and Class A right-handed pitcher Matthew Buschmann from the Padres. Rizzo saw Seabury as minor league depth in case the Nationals trade one of their catchers.
The Nationals made another minor move Wednesday night, signing outfielder Brett Carroll to a minor league deal. Carroll, 29, has appeared in 175 games over five major league seasons, including only two last year with the Brewers. Carroll has hit .203/.281/.322 over 322 major league plate appearances in his career.