I don’t doubt that the Texas Rangers, Nolan Ryan and the rest of their scouts are well aware that Russell Wilson has a day job — NFL quarterback (one year away from a huge payday by the way). They drafted him in the “Rule 5 Draft” anyway.
In fact, it was the utter collapse of Wilson’s baseball dreams — the Baltimore Orioles drafted him in 2007 in high school, opted to go to college instead, and in 2010, the Colorado Rockies drafted him. After two summers (Wilson hit .229 with five homers and 19 stolen bases, striking out 118 times, in Class A in parts of the 2010 and ’11 seasons.) it didn’t pan out — that helped give him one more year of eligibility for football.
We in Wisconsin know how that went.
The Texas Rangers made a surprise pick in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft, normally an event that simply ends baseball’s winter meetings with little fanfare.
On Thursday at Walt Disney World, the Rangers decided they wanted some of the Wilson magic on their team and selected the former second baseman, taking him from the Colorado Rockies system. It cost them $12,000 to do so, and he goes on the club’s restricted list because he’s in the NFL.
Wilson squashed any chance of being a two-sport star.
“I love baseball. It’s a relaxing sport and a good sport. I’ve played it my whole life. But football is my first love,” he said.
Nonetheless, former two-sport star, Deion Sanders; now an analyst for the NFL Network, believed Wilson should consider baseball. He went to Twitter to say Wilson should “consider all his options.”
The Rangers have been scouting Wilson since high school, and believe he still might make a good 2nd baseman someday…if it weren’t for that whole “football thing.”
“Rule 5 Drafts” allow other teams to select from another team’s farm system. It’s meant to stop stockpiling of young players in the minors for the sole purpose of under-paying them. As a result, the player picked in the Rule 5 Draft is automatically placed on the drafting team’s 40-man roster. If that player makes the 25-man roster, he must stay there for the entire season and cannot be optioned or designated to the minors.
In the case of Wilson, this is more about the Rangers giving him an open invite to their spring training in February at the cost of $12,000. If he doesn’t show up — which he won’t — none of the rules regarding player return, roster placement, and so on in “Rule 5″ apply.