Each December at the winter meetings, Major League Baseball holds its Rule 5 Draft. The Rule 5 Draft differs in nature from the first-year player draft, which takes place in June.
In the first-year player draft, the selection pool concerns amateurs in the United States and Puerto Rico. The Rule 5 Draft strictly concerns professional players.
— A player must have signed when they were 19 years or older and played professional baseball for four years are eligible. Players who signed at 18 and have played five years are also eligible.
— Players currently on a team's 40-man roster are "protected" and are not eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft.
— If a team chooses a player in the Rule 5 Draft, they will pay $100,000 to the team he was chosen from.
— The receiving team will put the player on its Major League 25-man roster for all of the following season, and must be active for a minimum of 90 days.
— If the player does not remain on the Major League roster, he is placed on outrightwaivers. If he goes unclaimed, he is offered back to his original team for $50,000. If the original team declines, the receiving team may option him to the minor leagues.
— Teams are allowed to trade players selected in the Rule 5 Draft. However, rules regarding roster placement are applied to the player's new team.
— There are three phases to the Rule 5 Draft: Major League, Triple-A and Double-A.
Order of the draft
— The Rule 5 Draft operates in reverse order of the regular-season standings. If a team's 40-man roster is full at the time of the draft, it cannot make any selections.