By Jason Shetler
Friday was the deadline for all MLB teams to add Rule 5 eligible players to their 40-man roster. The Pirates had one open spot and used it on Clay Holmes. In a pretty surprising decision, Eric Wood was not added to the roster. Here’s why I think he should have been protected.
Wood is coming off a breakout season in 2016 with the Altoona Curve, posting a .782 OPS and hitting a career best 16 home runs. He also made significant improvements defensively to at least become a league average defender at third base moving forward. Wood performed even better in the Arizona Fall League for the Surprise Saguaros, as he put up an OPS of .876, which was tied for eighth best in the league. During the AFL, he played first base and left field, so he’s starting to become more versatile on defense.
The general consensus appeared to be that Wood had a good chance of being added to the Pirates 40-man roster. As I mentioned earlier, the decision not to was surprising, especially considering that there were certainly other players who could have been designated for assignment to make room on the roster for him. While I’m not saying that Wood being selected in the Rule 5 Draft will be automatic, I think it would have been better to protect him to be on the safe side.