Rule 5 Draft nets Phils three players
Club selects pitchers Simon, Warden and catcher Budde
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Still filled with energy after Wednesday's late-night trade for Freddy Garcia, the Phillies took three chances in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, adding pitchers Alfredo Simon and Jim Ed Warden, and catcher Ryan Budde.Simon, a former Philadelphia farmhand, came via a trade with Baltimore. The Orioles selected the hard thrower from the Rangers with the fifth overall pick, then shipped him to the Phils for cash and catcher Adam Donachie -- whom the Phillies took with the 10th pick, from the Royals. "[Simon] has a power arm," said Mike Arbuckle, the team's assistant general manager for scouting and player development. "His numbers aren't good, but he's been throwing real well in winter ball, up to 98 [mph]. He's one of those high-ceiling, high-risk guys that, based on our reports from winter ball, maybe is starting to put things together. We thought it was worth taking a look." Simon, 25, spent 2006 pitching in the Giants organization, where he'd been since being dealt there with outfielder Ricky Ledee for righty reliever Felix Rodriguez. His combined stats this season with Class A San Jose and Triple-A Fresno were 88 1/3 innings, 119 hits allowed, 70 strikeouts and 33 walks, with a 6.62 ERA. He was signed to a Minor League deal by the Rangers in November and had been pitching in the Dominican Republic. "Command has always been his issue," Arbuckle said. "We view him as a reliever, just a power-arm guy that can come in and blow for a couple of innings." Warden was selected from the Indians. A former first-round draft pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, Warden spent the 2006 season with Double-A Akron and posted a 5-2 record with a 3.05 ERA and 11 saves in 55 games. He held opponents to a .167 batting average. Arbuckle described Warden as a Chad Bradford-type, because of his funky delivery. "He's an interesting guy," Arbuckle said. "He's a different-look guy, a 6-foot-7 sidearmer. He's got a real good sink on his fastball, throws up to 93 [mph] from the side. He's worth taking a look at, because he is deceptive because of his size and arm slot." Both pitchers will compete for bullpen jobs in Spring Training, hoping to be added to a crew that includes Tom Gordon, Geoff Geary, Ryan Madson and Matt Smith. Assuming the Phillies acquire another reliever, they'll have one spot open. Players selected in the Rule 5 Draft cost $50,000. They must make the Major League team or be offered back to their original teams for $25,000.
"We're dreaming on both a little bit," Arbuckle said. "Hopefully, we'll strike lightning, because they're good-armed guys with good stuff."Budde would serve as the third catcher if he made the team, something the Phillies might consider because of Chris Coste's ability to also play first and third.
"We took [Budde] for some catching inventory, [and we will] let him compete," Arbuckle said. "He's a very good catch-and-throw guy with some power. He's got an above-average arm and is a solid receiver. We'll let him play and compare him to the other guys we have."
In the Minor League portion of the draft, the Phillies selected outfielder Victor Hall from the Yankees. Hall, 26, spent last season with Class A Tampa, where he hit .321 with four homers and 19 RBIs. He also scored 48 runs and stole 35 bases in 63 games.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.