NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Orioles selected a pair of outfielders in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, giving the organization depth as it continues to scour the free-agent market to fill in the spots alongside center fielder Adam Jones.
The O's, who have been incredibly active in the Rule 5 Draft in recent years, picked Aneury Tavarez from the Red Sox organization, followed by Anthony Santander from the Indians. The additions were the only transactions made by the Orioles at the Winter Meetings.
The Rule 5 Draft, which involves players not on a team's 40-man roster who have played professionally for at least five years if signed at 18 or younger or at least four years if signed at 19 or older, requires that the selecting team place that player on its active roster. If a player is selected in the Rule 5 Draft, he has to stay on the Major League 25-man roster for the entire season or be offered back to his original organization.
Tavarez, who has played all three outfield positions, hit .330/.374/.495 last season between Boston's Triple-A and Double-A clubs. He spent the majority of the season with Double-A Portland and batted .335/.379/.506 in 106 games, becoming an Eastern League All-Star in the process.
"He was the MVP of the Portland club," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of Tavarez, who also went 20-for-31 in stolen bases last season. " … This kid is a good offensive player, excellent speed, and he's played in the Dominican. We need to find a position for him, but he can hit, he can run, and he does have some power if you look at the 13 triples that he had. That reflects his power as well as his speed."
Santander hit .290/.368/.494 with 20 homers and 95 RBIs at Class A Advanced Lynchburg. He had right shoulder surgery after the season, and at just 22, he was the youngest player the O's were looking at adding to their Major League roster.
Duquette compared the young switch-hitter to Victor Martinez, after whom Santander modeled a lot of his game.
"[Santander] is an excellent young hitter," Duquette said. "He was the best offensive player in the Carolina League. We like his capability to hit in the big leagues, to hit from both sides of the plate for power. He recently had surgery on his shoulder, but at 22 years old, we think there's enough ability there -- particularly with the bat -- to take a chance on him and get him into our organization."
In the Minor League portion, the O's took right-handed pitcher Jefri Hernandez from the Reds and lefty Brian Moran from the Braves. Moran is the nephew of former Oriole B.J. Surhoff.
The Orioles did not lose any players to other clubs in the Rule 5 Draft in the Major League or Minor League portions.
Per the Rule 5 Draft rules, only the two Major League players taken need to stay on the active roster all year to stay within the Orioles' organization.