D-backs select catcher Oscar Hernandez in Rule 5 draft
PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks completed the San Diego portion of their winter makeover by selecting catcher Oscar Hernandez with the first pick in the Rule 5 draft Thursday morning.
The potential trade of left-hander Wade Miley to Boston for Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster remained on hold, meanwhile, as the D-backs sought to land a final minor-league prospect.
Hernandez, 21, has not played above the low Class A level with the Rays, but after trading Miguel Montero to the Chicago Cubs, the D-backs need depth at the position and could be looking to catch lightning in a bottle. At the same time, they are expected to look for another veteran catcher to go along with Tuffy Gosewisch, perhaps in a platoon situation in 2015. Former Cubs starter Welington Castillo could be among the possibilities.
Hernandez hit .249 with nine home runs and 63 RBI at low-A Bowling Green last season, and the D-backs have been able to see him regularly since they also have an affiliate in the Midwest League.
A native of Venezuela, Hernandez signed at age 16 and made a splash in 2011, when he won the triple crown in the Venezuelan summer league, hitting .402 with 21 homers and 66 RBI in 69 games. Although his career defensive statistics are incomplete, Hernandez stood out last year, throwing out 41 percent of the 61 potential base-stealers at Bowling Green. He was charged with 11 errors and 12 passed balls.
By Rule 5 rules, Hernandez must remain on the D-backs' major league roster in 2015 or be offered back to Tampa Bay for half of the $50,000 selection price.
Occasionally teams make a trade or other accommodations so that a Rule 5 player can remain with his new organization, but it is on a case-by-case basis. The D-backs regained outfielder Ender Inciarte from Philadelphia when the Phillies did not keep him in the majors in 2013, and Inciarte developed into a valuable asset last summer.
Hernandez is 6 feet and 195 pounds.
The D-backs also selected right-hander and Tucson Sabino High grad Tim Crabbe from Cincinnati in the Triple-A phase of the draft. Crabbe was 5-7 with a 4.13 ERA last season at Triple-A Louisville, where he was used as a starter and a reliever. The D-backs lost four players in the Triple-A phase: Catcher Steven Rodriguez, outfielder Brett Jackson and middle infielders Pedro Ruiz and Nathan Samson.