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THT examines the Rule 5 Draft

The Hardball Times examines the most interesting Rule 5 drafts from 1981-2007 and one of the Marlins picks finished first in the most interesting category.  No, it wasn't Dan Uggla.  In fact, Danny wasn't even mentioned.

THT found the Johan Santana selection to be the most interesting.


1. Johan Santana

Dec. 13, 1999: Drafted by the Florida Marlins from the Houston Astros. He hasn't had the best career of any Rule 5 draftee—that status still belongs to Roberto Clemente—but Santana has been tremendous, and it isn't beyond the realm of possibility that he'll outdo Clemente before all is said and done.


The curious aspect to Santana's draft was the arrangement worked out between Marlins GM Dave Dombrowski and Twins GM Terry Ryan. Minnesota held the first draft position, and Florida the second. The story is that the Marlins' preference was for Jared Camp, a pitcher in the Cleveland organization, and the Twins wanted Santana. Setting aside the question of whether preferring Camp made sense (he was 24 and in five minor league seasons had worked just 11 innings as high as Triple-A), here's where it gets weird: The teams agreed that the Twins would draft Camp, and then the Marlins would take Santana, and they'd immediately swap them, with the Marlins tossing in $50,000 as a sweetener, covering Minnesota's draft fee.

Does this make any sense to you?

Let's face it, had the Marlins possessed the foresight to keep Santana, he wouldn't be with the club right now.  Johan made his first start in the majors in 2000 and he probably would've been helpful when the Marlins won the World Series in 2003.  But there are two things are for certain: the Marlins won the World Series without him and if he had been on the team at time, he wouldn't be now.  Had the great Santana been a Marlin in 2003 he would've been traded the same way that Penny and Beckett were.  It is just a fact.

While the Santana thing looks like one of the dumbest moves the Marlins have ever made, when it is all said and done, it just didn't matter.

Of course, one could bring up the possible players that the Marlins would have received in trading him, but that is kinda iffy since all trades don't work out.  Example: the Luis Castillo trade.  And you know, that Penny trade didn't exactly pay dividends either.

All in all, it is a fun thing to look at, but it really didn't affect the Marlins in any serious way.