Rule 5: Annual Selection of Players


Meeting


The Rule 5 Draft Meeting shall be held annually at a time and place designated by the Commissioner (typically in December on the last day of the Winter Meetings). At the meeting, clubs may claim the contracts of players who are on minor league reserve lists and who are eligible for selection (see below). The Commissioner shall make all procedural decisions regarding Rule 5.


Players eligible to selection


All players on reserve lists are eligible except players on the Retired, Disqualified, or Ineligible lists and shall be subject to Rule 5 draft selection in accordance with the following:
  • If 18 years old or younger on the June 5 preceding the player's original signing date, the player is subject to selection at the fifth Rule 5 Draft following the player's signing date.
  • If 19 years old or older on the June 5 preceding the player's original signing date, the player is subject to selection at the fourth Rule 5 Draft following the player's signing date.
  • If a player is released and re-signed by the same club within one year, that player's Rule 5 eligibility is based on his original contract with that club.
  • Any player who has previously been subject to a Rule 5 Draft is subject to all subsequent Rule 5 drafts.
  • A club may designate any player who would otherwise not be subject to these rules as eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.


Method


On or before November 20, organizations place all players under contract on reserve lists at every affiliate level. Reserve lists are not the same as active 25-man rosters, but are more akin to the 40-man roster at the major league level. For example, there are 38 spots on the Triple-A reserve list, 37 at Double-A, and 35 per each A and Rookie ball affiliate.

Selections in the Rule 5 Draft shall be made in 3 phases: MLB, Triple-A, and Double-A. Eligible players not protected on the MLB 40-man roster are eligible to be selected in the MLB phase of the draft. Eligible players not protected on the MLB 40-man roster or the Triple-A Reserve List are subject to selection in the Triple-A phase. Eligible players not protected on the MLB 40-man roster, the Triple-A Reserve List, or the Double-A Reserve List are subject to selection in the Double-A phase.

Under Rule 6, players selected in the MLB phase must spend one year on the selecting team's major league roster (active roster or DL) or the selecting team must offer the player back to his original team. Similarly, players selected in the Triple-A phase of the draft must be kept on the Triple-A Reserve list or higher for the upcoming season, but are not required to play the entire upcoming season in Triple-A. Players selected in the Double-A phase of the draft must be kept on the Double-A Reserve list or higher for the upcoming season, but are not required to play the entire upcoming season in Triple-A.

Order


MLB clubs shall select in reverse order of winning percentage from the previous season, without regard to division standings or playoff results. In the case of a tie, order shall be determined based on the prior season's winning percentage (in reverse order). Each club will have the right to select one player per round, and if the club does not select a player, it forfeits its right of selection for the entire phase. When a round is complete, the process will continue until all teams have passed.

Consideration, Payment, and Responsibility


The consideration for a selection under Rule 5 is as follows:
  • $50,000 if a player is placed on the Major League Reserve List
  • $12,000 if a player is placed on a AAA Reserve List
  • $4,000 if a player is placed on the AA Reserve List

Covering Up


No agreement shall be made for the purpose of covering up a player from selection. The Commissioner may impose fines for such conduct.