Braves lose Valenzuela in Rule 5 Draft
Reds select young righty with sixth pick in Major League phase
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Based on the discussions they'd heard over the past couple of days, the Braves thought they might lose a couple of players in Thursday morning's Rule 5 Draft. But they ended up losing just one, and he wasn't one of the available players they thought might be most attractive to other teams.
With the sixth selection in the first round of the Major League phase of Thursday's Draft at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, the Reds chose right-handed pitcher Sergio Valenzuela. The 21-year-old hurler posted a 7.00 ERA in 32 combined appearances with Class A Rome and high Class A Myrtle Beach this past season.
Having selected Valenzuela, the Reds will have to pay $50,000 to the Braves, who would have the opportunity to reacquire the Mexican pitcher for $25,000 if he doesn't remain on Cincinnati's 25-man Major League roster throughout the 2008 season.
"We liked [Valenzuela] as a prospect, but we think he's a long way away and wasn't really a consideration to add to our Major League roster," Braves general manager Frank Wren said.
Instead of Valenzuela, the Braves had gained a sense they might lose versatile infielder Diory Hernandez or right-handed pitcher Ryan Drese, who has made 96 career Major League starts. Coming back from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, which caused him to miss the 2006 season, Drese signed with Atlanta and made six starts in '07 for Class A Myrtle Beach.
"We expected to lose one more guy and we never expected to lose Valenzuela," Wren said.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.