The Angels picked up infielder Taylor Featherston in the Rule 5 Draft last December. He had never played a game above AA and yet, in order to keep him as their property, the Angels must keep him on the 25-Man big league roster all season. If they do not, they have to offer him back to the Rockies and if they reject him, the Halos must run him through waivers, allowing any team a chance to claim him.
Featherston might have a great future in baseball but his Spring with the team has been underwhelming. As a candidate to replace Howie Kendrick, Johnny Giavotella seems to be winning the job with his bat. Josh Rutledge was the player that the team gave up the most for (acquired in a trade for reliever Jairo Diaz) and seems a favorite despite lackluster numbers in Tempe. 2B could still go to Grant Green, who has shown versatility in playing infield and outfield and bringing some pop with his bat.
Featherston's ceiling is that of a Maicer Izturis supersub and he really is at least a year away from the majors. If he is to be a great player, though, can the Angels afford to keep him on their major league roster?
Well, if they cannot keep him on their roster, that essentially means that the Rockies will get him back or another team will claim him on waivers, right?
If Jerry Dipoto is a gambling man and wants to get Featherston ready for prime time at a leisurely pace, here is what his club needs to do. The Angels need to put Taylor Featherston on their opening day 25-Man roster. And then, right after the first game of the season, Dipoto needs to run the kid through the waiver wire.
Wait, what? Why?
Every team in baseball spends the weekend before the Opening Day getting everything ready for their active roster. Few, if any, clubs are ready to make a bold move. None are likely to take a gamble on a light-hitting infielder who never got past Double A in four seasons of professional ball and will be 25 years and six months old come opening day. Everyone, even Colorado, will be looking forward at what they have got. This is the time to strike. This is the hour to squeeze through the Rule Five Loophole.
Jerry... go with the bold, gutsy move. Risk losing Featherston to keep him; take that risk when nobody in baseball can afford to look at what you are making available.