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Cubs Lose Marcos Mateo To Arizona In Rule 5 Draft

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The Cubs lost the veteran right-hander, who last pitched in the majors in 2011.

Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Like the Winter Meetings itself, there was a lot of build-up to this year's Rule 5 draft. Also like this year's Winter Meetings, the Rule 5 draft turned out to be a pretty big dud.

After predictions that the Cubs could lose as many as three or four players in the Rule 5 draft and after the drama of the Cubs losing their pick to Philadelphia, in the end the only Cubs player selected was right-handed pitcher Marcos Mateo.

The Cubs got Marcos Mateo from Cincinnati way back in 2007 for Buck Coats. He reached the major leagues in both 2010 and 2011, racking up a lot of strikeouts and giving up a lot of hits and home runs, before missing all of 2012 and most of 2013 with an elbow injury.

Mateo, now 29, has always thrown hard and reports out of the Dominican Winter League are that his velocity is back. Despite his mid-to-high 90s fastball and a slider with some bite, Mateo has always been rather hittable throughout his major and minor league career. But the stuff was always there to be a quality reliever if he could ever put it together. He'll now get a chance to do that in Arizona. He will have to spend the whole season on the major league roster with Arizona or be offered back to the Cubs. He can spend up to 90 days on the disabled list without being offered back to Chicago.

As far as the rest of the Rule 5 draft goes, only nine players were selected, the fewest taken since 2000. The DBacks actually lost two players, including the first pick, LHP Patrick Schuster, to Houston, who immediately traded him to the Padres as the player to be named later in the Anthony Bass deal from earlier in the week.

So all the worries that the Cubs could lose as many an four players in the Rule 5 draft were overblown. And Jae-Hoon Ha, Matt Loosen and Marcus Hatley will still be with the Cubs when Spring Training starts.