Who will start for the Detroit Tigers in 2019 after their offseason acquisitions
Ryan Ford and Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press

Major League Baseball’s annual Rule 5 Draft will take place at midday Thursday on the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Free Press sports author Ryan Ford breaks down the large questions moving into:

Do the Tigers have a decide?

They do, in the event that they need to use it. All teams with an open spot on their forty-man roster are eligible – the Tigers entered Thursday with two spots — with groups drafting in reverse order of last season’s end. Detroit completed with the fifth-worst report in baseball, in order that they’ll decide fifth, behind the Orioles, Royals, White Sox and Marlins.

Who’s eligible?

Any player not on their group’s forty-man roster who has a minimum of four years of professional expertise (if they began enjoying at 19 or older) or five years of experience (in the event that they began at 18) could be taken within the draft. Principally, the players taken are often excessive-ceiling prospects who haven’t panned out immediately.

Related: Anthony Fenech’s 5 prospects to watch in the Rule 5 draft

So … what’s the catch?

There’s two, really. First, any team that takes a player must pay $100,000 to the team they select the player from. Second, said player goes right to the 25-man roster and has to stay there (with allowances for a limited time on the disabled list) all season. If the team wants to send him to the minors, they have to send him through waivers (allowing any other team to claim him for their 25-man roster) and then, if he clears waivers, offer him back to his original team for $50,000. If that team passes, he can be sent down.

Has anyone good gone through the Rule 5 draft?

The Rule 5 draft has been around for more than a century – the Pirates snagged future Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente from the Dodgers back in the 1950s – but in recent times, the talent level has been OK at best. Perhaps the most recent success story is Phillies second baseman Odubel Herrera, who was grabbed from Texas in 2014. Herrera hit .297 with eight homers as a rookie in 2015, made the 2016 NL All-Star squad and signed a five-year, $30.5 million contract in 2017. Some other notable recent Rule 5 picks include Johan Santana, Josh Hamilton and former Tiger Joakim Soria. Brad Keller, the best of the 18 players taken in last year’s draft had a solid rookie season for the Royals, starting 20 games with a 3.38 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 112 innings.