The Indians lost two players to the major-league Rule 5 Draft today. The Oakland Athletics (via Tampa Bay) selected OF Ryan Goleski, and the Philadelphia Phillies picked RHP Jim Ed Warden (their second selection).
Warden isn't that big a loss, though the Indians were close to protecting him, instead choosing to add JD Martin. Warden had been pretty awful in his professional career before changing his arm angle this past season. And in general, minor-league relievers are the least valuable of all prospects.
Ryan Goleski is another matter. He has a classic right field skillset (good power, very good arm), and he was one of the few right-handed power hitters in the system. The Indians protected Ben Francisco, a more versatile outfielder, instead, thinking that teams would be less likely to take a corner outfielder with little speed. Oakland, however, is well-equipped to have their fourth outfielder just be a corner guy with Milton Bradley able to shift to center if needed.
What of Brian Sikorski or Mike Rouse, who are presently on the 40-man roster? The Indians are likely to add two more free agents before the off-season is over, so their spots are probably placeholders. The real culprits are probably Jeremy Guthrie, who's probably going to be non-tendered, or even Michael Aubrey, who just hasn't been able to stay healthy. But when you lose a player on waivers, he's gone; if you lose a player via the Rule 5 Draft, there's still a chance of getting him back.