If there’s one player the New York Mets are most likely to lose in this year’s Rule 5 Draft, it’s a guy who has never pitched a single inning for them. The lack of attachment might not make this level of fear heart-pounding. It is still a bit questionable as to why they didn’t protect him.
Coleman Crow, who came over from the Los Angeles Angels in the Eduardo Escobar trade, joined the Mets with health concerns. Shortly after the trade, he underwent Tommy John Surgery. We know the timetable for that recovery will, at best, mean Crow returns in late 2024.
Crow could have just as easily been placed on the Mets 40-man roster and later moved to the 60-day IL while in recovery mode to open up the spot again. This wasn’t what David Stearns did. Instead, he left Crow unprotected. Why wouldn’t a team take a shot at him?
Coleman Crow is basically a free prospect for another team to take in the Rule 5 Draft
There is some minor risk involved in drafting a player because Rule 5 draftees must stay on the MLB roster for the full year. With Crow, it’s different. The rules apply to him, but with a spot on the 60-day IL guaranteed to come his way, teams aren’t negatively affected.
If Crow ends up missing all of 2024, it’s like a team received a prospect for free; or at least the small fee required to select a player here. He can safely rest up and come back in 2025 and get sent to the minors where he can continue his development.
Refusal to protect Crow on the 40-man roster with plenty of room might be the most questionable decision made by the Mets because of this injury loophole. Mets fans across social media are universally ready to package Justin Jarvis in any trade they can. Jeremiah Jackson, while a promising prospect who did well for the Mets in Double-A, doesn’t seem quite ready for a major league roster spot.
Alongside the decision to not protect Crow was the choice to add Alex Ramirez to the 40-man roster. Ramirez spent last year in Single-A and didn’t play well. Would a team actually select him and bite the bullet on how overmatched he’d be in whatever limited playing time he gets for the benefit of seeing what he could add in the future?
A similar situation as Crow happened with Dedniel Nunez when he was taken by the San Francisco Giants in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft. He spent the entire season on the IL and was later returned to the Mets in November. He is the most recent Mets player to get taken. At the time, he hadn’t pitched above High-A.