History of the Rule 5 Draft in San Diego: Redefining the Building of a Ball Club
Historically, there have been many success stories from the Major Leagues regarding the Rule-5 draft.
Some of the top names include Johan Santana, Josh Hamilton, Dan Uggla, and Joakim Soria.
Furthermore, many popular and well know Padre players have come to or gone from the organization via the Rule-5 draft. Bip Roberts, Everth Cabrera, Alan Wiggins, Ivan Nova, and Shane Victorino were some of the bigger names of those who were acquired through the draft. Players that the organization have lost includes Dave Hollins, Mitch Williams, Dave Maurer, and Joakim Soria.
Shortstop Everth Cabrera and Pitcher Joakim Soria are among the more successful names in Rule-5 picks. Ironically, each are examples of a different direction to or from the Padres. Everth Cabrera was acquired via Rule-5 in December of 2008 at the age of 22. He went on to play for the Padres, cementing the shortstop position from 2009 until 2014. He was 8th in voting in 2008 among Rookie of the Year candidates and played in the All-Star game in 2013. During the six years that he played for the Padres, he stole 136 bases, including his career best in 2012, with 44. Unfortunately, in 2013, Cabrera was suspended 50 games because of a positive PED test, ending his season. Then, in 2014, Cabrera was arrested for DUI while being on the disabled list. Consequently, at the end of the 2014, the Padres’ organization elected to go a different direction and non-tendered the fixture at shortstop. The Padres, currently, continue to look for Cabrera’s replacement, struggling to define the shortstop role for the club.
In 2006, Joakim Soria went the opposite direction from the Padres. After scouting him in the Mexican League that year, the Kansas City Royals saw something they liked. Kansas City drafted the 22-year-old Soria via the Rule-5 draft and immediately installed him in their bullpen. Joakim, who played for the Royals for five seasons, made two all-star teams and saved 160 games.
Leon “Bip” Roberts, or “The Bipper”, and Alan Wiggins were both true leadoff hitters who the Padres acquired via Rule-5 Draft. Along with Gene Richards, they are among the top leadoff hitters in Padres history. (“Gene Richards, the Definitive Padre Leadoff Hitter & Prospective Padre Hall of Famer.”, Michael Clark, East Village Times.) The speed from both these guys was legendary. Alan Wiggins was drafted through the Rule-5 draft at age 22 in 1980. He was with the Padres from 1981 through mid-season 1985. 1982-84 were his primary productive seasons for the Padres. Wiggins stole 169 bases during that time, including 70 during the ’84 World Series Season. The total of 70 from that season is still a franchise record.
The “Bipper” was part of the Padres, through many different stints, after being Rule-5 drafted in 1985 at the age of 22. Consequently, he spent the entire ’86 season on the club to satisfy the Rule-5 requirement. After the ’86 season, Roberts was able to spend a little time in the minors to further develop. He joined the team in ’89 and played regularly through ’91. During that period he stole 90 bases and maintained an average near .300. Later, he returned to the team in ’94, for two years, and maintained an average above .300 and continued to display his speed on the bases. It is obvious why both these players are among the lore of Padres’ leadoff hitters and are a demonstration of some success through the Rule-5 draft.
A.J. Preller, the G.M. of the San Diego Padres, is attempting to redefine how a team goes about rebuilding for the future. Unconventionally, he has made a huge statement by drafting seven players in the two years from the Rule-5 Draft in 2015 and ‘16. Among those players, five still remain with the club. If just a few of those become successful, Mr. Preller will have, in his own way, rewritten some of the rule book regarding young prospects and talented players.
Following is a comprehensive list of Padres Rule-5 picks and some of the players we have lost:
Miguel Diaz Twins …. Traded for spot
Luis Torrens Reds …. Traded for spot
Allen Cordoba—- Padres
Luis Perdomo —Rockies—Traded for cash
Jabari Blash—A’s — Traded to complete Yonder Alonso and Marc Rzepczynski trade
Patrick Schuster—Astros—Traded to complete Anthony Bass trade
Joakim Soria (from Padres to Royals)
Dave Maurer (From Padres to Giants)
Dave Hollins (From Padres to Phillies)
Mitch Williams (From Padres to Texas Rangers)
Michael Clark is a Las Vegas historian with a Bachelor’s Degree in U.S. and Nevada history from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is a third generation Padres fan who has “paid attention” ever since his family returned to the states from military service in Germany in the early 1980’s. His grandparents move to Chula Vista in the 30’s where they bought a house on K Street. Both parents graduated Chula Vista H.S. in 1959. During his Dad’s tenure in the Air Force, 26 years, multiple times he, with his Mother, brother, and sister, made their home in that house. His Grandfather, Grandmother, Mother, and Father are all buried at Ft. Rosecrans, Pt Loma where they get to see every Padres home game right across the bay. It is the authors goal to bring many of the great tales from the Padres storied past to light for many of the new fans and to remind those who may have lived through it. Most articles will also feature baseball cards of the players mentioned. This gives an added peek into the past and provides some nostalgia. You can follow me on twitter at gwynn19@wcoastcapper