Blue Jays protect Urena, Alford from Rule 5 Draft

Lefty Borucki also added to 40-man roster

Blue Jays protect Urena, Alford from Rule 5 Draft

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays protected a pair of their top prospects from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft by adding shortstop Richard Urena and outfielder Anthony Alford to the 40-man roster on Friday evening.

Left-hander Ryan Borucki also was added to the 40-man roster for the same reason. Left-hander Angel Perdomo, right-hander Francisco Rios and reliever Adonys Cardona were among the notable pitchers left exposed, but the club is likely banking on each being too far away from the Majors to be picked.

Teams had until Friday to add their Minor League players to the 40-man roster in advance of next month's Rule 5 Draft. Eligible players for the Rule 5 Draft include anyone not on the 40-man roster who signed as an 18-year-old in 2012 or 19 or older in '13.

Toronto currently has 39 players on its 40-man roster following a flurry of minor moves on Friday. The Blue Jays added the three prospects, claimed right-hander Leonel Campos from the Padres, claimed right-hander Domonic Leone from the D-backs, Kendrys Morales' three-year deal became official and the club also released catcher Josh Thole.

There are two rounds in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 Draft. Eligible players can be selected for a $50,000 fee, but if they do not remain on the 25-man roster for the entire season, they have to be offered back to the original team for $25,000. Ballclubs have to weigh whether there is a realistic shot of the player sticking around in the big leagues before making the pick.

Urena and Alford were both considered locks to make the 40-man roster. Neither player is quite ready for the big leagues, but their upside likely would have been too much for potential teams to take a pass on. Borucki was less certain, but as a lefty who can hit 94 mph, there was the risk that another team would want to take a chance on him.

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Based on MLBPipeline.com's rankings, there are five prospects in the Blue Jays' Top 30 who are at risk of being selected: outfielder D.J. Davis (Class A Advanced Dunedin), Dwight Smith (New Hampshire), Roemon Fields (New Hampshire), Perdomo (Lansing) and Rios (Dunedin). Other notable names include Cardona (Dunedin), Wil Browning (Buffalo), Jon Berti (New Hampshire) and Juan Kelly (Lansing).

In the Top 30, Davis' skill set likely remains too raw to warrant serious consideration. Fields' speed would be an asset off the bench, but his bat might not be strong enough at this point to carry on a 25-man roster. Perdomo is a very intriguing candidate, but he's never pitched above low Class A, and at 22 years old, it would be hard to carry him all year. Similar things could be said about Rios and Cardona.

Outside of the obvious group, Berti could draw potential consideration as a super utility player. Browning posted a 2.29 ERA in 46 games at Double-A New Hampshire, and at 28 years old, he should be close to being a finished product. Kelly has some upside with the bat, but he doesn't have enough experience to be at risk of being lost.

Toronto typically did not make a Rule 5 Draft pick under previous general manager Alex Anthopoulous' watch, but the club did come away with a steal last year. The Blue Jays stole right-hander Joe Biagini away from the Giants, and he ended up becoming an integral part of the bullpen.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.