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Who will the Boston Red Sox protect in the Rule V Draft?

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

By Cody MacLeod                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        At the Winter Meetings in December, one of the last events is the Rule V draft. Players who are not on their big league club's 40-man roster who were drafted in the rule IV draft four to five years ago or longer are eligible to be taken by a new team. The only catch is, that player must stay on the big league roster the entire season.

The list of players that Boston could potentially lose in the Rule V draft is long to say the least. Such players include: Mario Alcantara, Jonathan Aro, David Chester, Keith Couch, Sean Coyle, William Cuevas, Jacob Dahlstrand, Keury De La Cruz, Luis Diaz, Jason Garcia, Matt Gedman, Sergio Gomez, Dreily Guerrero, Chris Hernandez, Jayson Hernandez, Williams Jerez, Ellis Jimenez, Matty Johnson, Zach Kapstein, Aaron Kurcz, Mike McCarthy, Matty Ott, Mickey Pena, Aneudis Peralta, Oscar Perez, Kendrick Perkins, Carlos Pinales, Noe Ramirez, Henry Ramos, Tim Roberson, Eduardo Rodriguez, Robby Scott, Travis Shaw, David Sopilka, Blake Swihart, Jose Vinicio, Shannon Wilkerson, and Madison Younginer. The question here is whether or not any of these men could crack a big league roster next season.

Certainly the Red Sox will add catcher Blake Swihart and pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the draft. There is no way they give away such high-quality prospects for such a low price ($50k).

Perhaps adding a couple of relievers would not hurt. Noe Ramirez, Aaron Kurcz and Robby Scott all pitched well in AA Portland this past season. Any of the three could be selected if left unprotected. Perhaps at least one of them is added to 40 before the deadline to do so.

Paw Sox first baseman Travis Shaw could be added after a productive year in Pawtucket. Slugging 21 home runs with a .353 OBP split between AA and AAA makes him an appealing option, so much so that Boston may consider protecting him from the draft.

Sean Coyle is another possibility, but a second half slump in AA Portland may allow the big league club to risk leaving him off the 40-man roster. Still though, he hit .295/.371/.512 with 16 homeruns in 97 games for the Sea Dogs making him an appealing option for teams in a year where the market for second baseman is relatively thin. His .328/.416/.638 slash line while clubbing eight homers in 116 at-bats against southpaws makes him an interesting option as a platoon player, but he lacks versatility only playing second base effectively. Most teams do not platoon at second base, but someone may take him anyways. Coyle makes an interesting case, which will leave the Red Sox with a tough decision either way.

There is a 99% that rest of the guys on the list are safe. Teams only take guys who seem to have a great chance at making their Opening Day roster so very few players are selected in total.

In recent years, the Red Sox lost Ryan Pressly and Josh Fields in 2012, both of whom are now relievers in the American League.

The last time the Red Sox were on the receiving end of a successful Rule V Draft pick was when they selected Miguel Gonzalez from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim back in 2008. Gonzalez sat out the 2009 season with an injury, spent a couple of years in the Red Sox organization never appearing in a Major League game and is now with the Baltimore Orioles