The Rule 5 Draft begins at 8 am CST Thursday. After it's over, most of the GM's and other baseball personnel will be heading out of Orlando pretty quickly -- especially this year, when it's been unseasonably cold there. So this morning will probably be the end of trade and free agent discussion on an intense basis, although as Jim Hendry said, groundwork can be laid during the meetings for deals made later.
In the three years from 2008-2010, the Cubs took a player in the Rule 5 draft each year. Tim Lahey had a good spring training in 2008, but was the last cut. He wound up waived, claimed by the Phillies, but returned to the Twins before ever pitching in the major leagues. He's still in the Twins' system where he put up a 5.08 ERA in 45 relief appearances last year.
In 2009, the Cubs took David Patton. We all know most of that story -- he languished in the Cubs' bullpen where Lou Piniella seemingly forgot he was there, at one point going 16 days between appearances. They finally stashed him on the DL at the first opportunity.
Last year, Mike Parisi was the selection from the Cardinals. He had a mediocre spring training and the Cubs were able to keep him in their system. After six poor starts (7.84 ERA) between Double-A and Triple-A, he too wound up on the DL; he's been re-signed to a minor league contract.
The point here is: unless there's a real sure shot, I'd like the Cubs to pass on taking anyone this morning. Yes, I know that Josh Hamilton and Johan Santana and Joakim Soria and Dan Uggla and others who have been taken in Rule 5 and become stars. They are few and far between. I'd prefer the Cubs pass on any selections today.
Use this thread for all Rule 5 discussion and other dealmaking today.