Rays add righty Sierra in Rule 5 Draft

Rays add Sierra in Rule 5 Draft

INDIANAPOLIS -- Selecting 16th in Major League Baseball's Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, the Rays pulled the trigger on a selection but then opted to sell their only pick in the Major League phase.

The Rays selected Triple-A Pawtucket (Red Sox) left-hander Armando Zerpa in the Major League phase of the Draft, then sold the pick to the Dodgers for cash considerations.

Eligible players to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft are those players not on a team's Major League 40-man roster who were 18 or younger when they first signed a pro contract and this is the fourth Rule 5 Draft since they signed. Also eligible are those players not on the 40-man who were 19 or older when they first signed a pro contract and this is the third Rule 5 Draft since they signed.

Clubs pay $50,000 for the player drafted in the Major League phase, and if the player does not remain on the Major League 25-man active roster for all of the next season, the drafting club must attempt to return him to his original club for a price of $25,000.

In the Triple-A phase of the Draft, the Rays selected right-hander Miguel Sierra, who went 0-1 with a 13.06 ERA in five appearances at Double-A Boise (Cubs) in 2009. Sierra stands 6-foot-5, 170 pounds and is from Romana, Dominican Republic.

"Miguel Sierra is a nice projection," said Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics. "We've had good reports."

Lukevics said Rays scouts also confirmed Sierra's character with scouts in the Dominican Republic. He will initially be looked at as a starting pitcher.

"Our reports had him at 92, 90 [mph]," Lukevics said. "He's going to play at league age 21. Hopefully in a couple of years, we can develop a fine pitcher."

The Rays also lost a player during the Triple-A phase when the Nationals selected left-hander Michal Wlodarczyk, who went 1-4 with a 5.40 ERA in 47 appearances at Double-A Montgomery in 2009.

"[Wlodarczyk is] a wonderful young man," Lukevics said. "I'm glad he's getting an opportunity with another organization. ... Great young guy, great worker, really didn't fit in. He's pitched for us a number of years in Double-A, he had some struggles. So we didn't see him fitting in with Durham. This gives him an opportunity, and now we get a younger pitcher who we can hopefully develop."

The Rays paid $12,000 to pick up Sierra and were paid $12,000 for Wlodarczyk.

In the Double-A phase of the Draft, Cincinnati selected right-hander Douglas Salinas, who went 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA in two starts for Class A Hudson in 2009.

"He was one of those bubble guys for us who might not have made it out of Spring Training," Lukevics said. "Somebody must have seen him good on one day."

Lukevics said "there's always relief" at the conclusion of the Draft when the organization comes out relatively unfazed.

"You never want to lose players," Lukevics said. "But we have to make tough decisions on players. Sometimes you lose them. But can they stick? We've had examples over the years [where we got the players back]."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.