The 2021 Rule 5 Draft is Wednesday, December 8. This is not a highly publicized event in “Hot Stove” season but could bring a fresh start for a Phillie who hasn’t lived up to his hype.
Players who are not protected by being on the 40-man roster are eligible for the draft.
Scott Kingery, 27, was once dubbed the future of the Phillies after tearing through the minor leagues. He signed a six-year, $24 million deal in 2018 that included team options through 2026, giving him a spot on the opening day roster. He showed signs of what could be but after injuries, three lackluster seasons, misused by the Phillies, and a rough bout with COVID derailed his career.
Kingery has played just 51 total games over the last two seasons at the big-league level for the Phillies. In 2021 Kingery slashed .053/.053/.053 and a -.05 WAR while notching 12 strikeouts and one hit in 19 plate appearances. He was removed from the 40-man roster and outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after clearing waivers in June 2021.
Kingery then went on to have season-ending surgery after suffering a labrum injury in July of this past season, with the expectation to play somewhere in 2022, and the Rule 5 draft can be a path to that somewhere for Scotty Jetpax.
Clubs are not required to make a selection in the Rule 5 draft. Most of the time, Rule 5 players do not pan out for clubs. When a player is selected in the draft, their old club is owed $100,000 by the club that selected them and that player is put directly on the selecting team’s active roster. The selected player must then be placed on waivers to be removed from the 26-man roster that season. Once the player clears waivers, he can be offered back to his original club for $50,000. If the original club declines to have him return, he can be optioned to his new club’s minor league system.
The Phillies have made some franchise-altering picks in the Rule 5 draft. 2-time all-star, 4-time Gold Glove award winner, member of the 2008 World Series Champion, and pivotal piece of the Phillies’ run from 2007-2011, Outfielder Shane Victorino is the most successful Rule 5 selection coming out of the 2004 draft.
Now a free agent, former Phillies All-Star centerfielder Odubel Hererra was selected from the Rangers by the Phillies 10 years after they selected The Flyin’ Hawaiian. In 6 years with the Phillies, Hererra played a total of 755 games, with a career slash line of .274/.329/.422, 73 home runs, 284 RBIs, and 200 walks. Personal issues and opinions aside, Hererra is by far the next best pick the Phillies have ever made in the Rule 5.
For Kingery, getting selected could be the best-case scenario for him. Going to a team where he can play every day and rebuild him into the player he could be. Entering his age 28 season, he’s not a kid by any means, but he has enough prime years left for a team to take a chance on him. There is $14.6 million left on his contract over the next two seasons, and the options that get bigger as years go on. There is too much money and talent on the Phillies Big League roster for Kingery to have another run with the Phillies.
Who would take a chance on him?
With a very heavy middle infield free agent class this offseason, teams are going to look to the open market for infield help. Kingery will go unselected in the draft and will return to the Phillies.
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