LAS VEGAS -- Among the few benefits of going through a difficult season like the Mariners had in 2008 is receiving a high selection in the Rule 5 Draft. The Mariners are batting second on Thursday at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. "I think we will be active," general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "One thing is, it is hard to anticipate taking more than one because you have to keep them. I guess if you choose more than one, you can decide which one to keep.
"The other thing is, there aren't that many players out there. There might be six or seven players clubs really covet."Two of them are left-hander Donnie Veal from the Cubs and first baseman-outfielder Jordan Brown from the Indians. Veal, 24, was a Southern League All-Star last season with a 3.69 ERA in the first half, followed by a 6.59 second-half ERA. He has 476 strikeouts in 470 1/3 pro innings, but also has 256 walks. Jordan, a left-handed first baseman, batted .281 with seven home runs and 51 RBIs for Triple-A Buffalo last season. According to the rules (Rule 5), four years after a player signs, he must be protected on the 40-man Major League roster or he becomes eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft. If taken, the player must be on the Major League roster of the selecting team all season or offered back to his original team for half the $50,000 claiming fee. The Mariners selected right-handed pitcher R.A. Dickey off the Twins' Triple-A roster last year and eventually worked out a trade with Minnesota to keep the knuckleball specialist in the organization.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.