The lesson Jonathan Arauz' situation should teach us

Rob Bradford
April 02, 2020 - 3:05 pm

One week ago much was made of the agreement made between Major League Baseball and the Players' Association. And rightfully so.

Both sides were doing their best to get out ahead of these unpredictable next few months on a variety of levels, including pay structure and service time. But to think that it has all been figured out would be a mistake. For a reminder of that consider Jonathan Arauz's situation.

Arauz is currently the property of the Red Sox, having been selected in the Rule 5 Draft from the Astros in the offseason. Under Rule 5 guidelines, Arauz would need to be kept on the active major league roster for the entire season in order to stay with Boston. If the Sox couldn't accomodate the infielder on 26-man roster than he would be returned to the Houston organization.

Now, this is where it gets tricky.

While we know that the agreement between MLB and the MLBPA states that players will be rewarded a full year of service time even if there is no season (or even if there is part of a season), according to team and league sources there has been no determination regarding what might happen to Rule 5 players if there is no season.

While this isn't going to make or break the Red Sox' title hopes it is a microcosm of the continued uncertainty for players and teams. There is still a ton to figure out.

Arauz showed some promise during his spring training stint with the Red Sox before running into some struggles in the final week of Grapefruit League play. The 21-year-old probably wasn't going to be a viable candidate to stick with the major league team if the roster stuck at 26 players. But if it does expand to 29, as is rumored if and when baseball does return, the infielder might be worth holding on to.

If there is no season, however, it might be a whole different ballgame.

If the Rule 5 picks are linked to the service time agreement then the Red Sox would be able to keep Arauz's rights for 2021, potentially allowing him to continue what would be a more palatable developmental path in the minor leagues. But there is still a chance such a scenario would simply lead to another spring training of trying out next March.

Just something to think about.