The 2012 rule five draft took place yesterday with the Indians taking one new player and losing two. Long-time prospect Hector Rondon went to the Cubs after missing most of the last three seasons with injuries (Rondon pitched just 41 innings over those three years). The Indians had been very high on Rondon with thoughts of him being a top of the rotation starter, but after injuries derailed his career he is now looked to be more of a short inning reliever. Since this is an area of depth for the team, they decided not to protect Rondon, despite the money and time spent on him the last few years during his rehab and treatment.
The other pitcher that was taken from the Indians was T.J. McFarland who was taken by the Orioles. Leaving McFarland to get taken makes less sense than Rondon, especially since the Indians currently have an opening on the 40 man roster. Even if they didn't have that opening, there are other players on the 40 man that are more expendable right now than McFarland.
The draft wasn't a total loss, however, as the Indians did pick up one of the top hitting prospects available in the draft. Chris McGuiness is a power hitting first baseman the Indians drafted away from the Rangers. Last season McGuiness hit 23 home runs with 77 RBI for the Frisco Rough Riders AA team. He also won the MVP for the Arizona Fall League this past season. McGuiness will be directly placed into the competition for the first baseman's role on the 2013 major league team. With openings at left field, first base and DH, there is plenty of room on the 25 man roster for him right now.
As always with the Rule 5 draft, the players need to be kept on the 25 man roster for the entire 2013 season of be relinquished to their old team for $25,000. This may fare well for the Indians as McFarland is probably not ready to break the starting rotation for the Orioles and may end up back with the Indians before too long (or he could be the next Jeremy Guthrie, another top Indians prospect that became an ace for Baltimore). It does put pressure on McGuiness, however, as he would probably have seen another year in the minors (at AAA) before being thrown into the major leagues. Now he will have to produce enough to at least earn a reserve position behind whoever the starting first baseman/DH ends up being.
Overall, the situation isn't too bad as the Indians probably would have been willing to trade one of the two pitchers for McGuiness, although losing both was a little much.