Who will the New York Yankees protect in the Rule 5 Draft?

New York Yankees, Michael King
Sep 27, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael King (73) throws a pitch in the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have several important decisions to make this offseason, one of which depends on the Rule 5 Draft and what young players they must protect. For those who aren’t familiar with the Rule 5 Draft, here’s a short description from the MLB.

A team that selects a player in the Rule 5 Draft pays $50,000 to the team from which he was selected. The receiving team must then keep the player on the Major League 25-man roster for the entirety of the next season, and the selected player must remain active (not on the disabled list) for a minimum of 90 days.

Only specific teams are given the ability to steal players from other organizations (if they cannot fill their 40-man roster). This puts players like Deivi Garcia, Estevan Florial, Michael King, Luis Gil, and Nick Nelson on the block.

The Bombers elevated several players this week, including Garcia, Florial, Gil, Brooks Kriske, Luis Medina, Nick Nelson, and Miguel Yajure to the 40-man roster, while releasing Jacoby Ellsbury and designated Greg Bird and Nestor Cortes Jr. for assignment.

Holding onto those players was expected, especially Garcia, who could feature in a bullpen role next season.

The New York Yankees need to play it safe:

Garcia is the top prospect in the Yankees’ farm system, and his elevation from low-A ball to high-A ball in just three months proves his value to the club. The young pitcher has fantastic stuff (165 K in 111 1/3 innings in 2019). While his pitching numbers are substantial, his 5-foot-9 stature has presented issues for scouts evaluating him from a professional perspective.

Despite his lack of size, there’s no chance the Yankees allow another team a sniff at their top prospect. Keeping him protected is a priority, but it also leaves the door open for the other youngsters to be snatched by lesser teams. Michael King will also likely be added to the 40-man roster, but Florial, who has battled constant injuries, could be a target for opposing teams.