After Rehab Stint, Phillies Designate Noah Song for Assignment
It was a feel-good story in Spring Training. Right-handed pitcher Noah Song, who had not played in over three years professionally while giving himself in military service to the United States, was selected in December's Rule 5 draft by the Phillies from the Boston Red Sox. Song reported to Spring Training and began the journey of rehabilitating an arm that had not thrown. At the conclusion that, the Phillies have decided against placing Song on the active roster and announced that Song has been designated for assignment.
Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski knew Song from his time in Boston, when Song was drafted. Adding Song was pretty much a wild card; the Phillies did not know what they would be getting, as Dombrowski acknowledged this Spring:
"He hasn't pitched in three years. We knew when we drafted him it's a long shot...The reality is that it's a gamble, that's what it is.... I don't know if he's going to throw 85 or 95, but we think it's worth the risk."
But even back in Boston when the Red Sox drafted him, the military commitment loomed:
"I thought he was a number one draft choice, but because of the commitment nobody was taking him."
So now that Song has been designated for assignment, what could happen? MLB.com breaks it down:
Rule 5 Draft picks are assigned directly to the drafting club's 26-man roster and must be placed on outright waivers in order to be removed from the 26-man roster in the subsequent season. Should the player clear waivers, he must be offered back to his previous team for $50,000 and can be outrighted to the Minors only if his original club does not wish to reacquire him.
So should other teams not claim Song, the Phillies have a shot of keeping him in the system.
That not out of the possibility. Whoever claims him would have to put Song on the 26-man active roster. That might be asking a lot for someone who has only pitched a rehab assignment's worth of games in three-plus years.
The Red Sox have the ability to keep Song in their system, too, but do not have to put Song on their 40-man roster.
The Red Sox might not have room in their system as the trade deadline looms and the Red Sox acquire prospects; they could conceivably work out a trade with the Phillies, should the Phillies wish to keep him around. It's possible that the Red Sox organization, now devoid of many who played a part in drafting him, just do not feel an impetus to keep him around.
But in the big leagues, pitching is scarce, and the Red Sox might just hold on to their asset, albeit one that is somewhat uncertain.