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Cleveland Indians 2015 Rule 5 draft: Indians add Brian Moran, lose Josh Martin

Indians swap a righty reliever for a lefty.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Indians, as well as the rest of the league, capped off a busy Winter Meetings with the Rule 5 draft Thursday morning. Although the Indians came into the day with a full 40-man roster and thus could not compete in the Major League portion of the draft, they did have several prospects who had a chance at being snatched up by another team, and they also were free to compete in the Triple-A and Double-A portions.

Cleveland’s only departure was right-handed pitcher Josh Martin, who was chosen by the San Diego Padres with the eighth overall pick of the Major League portion of the draft. The Padres will now be on the hook to keep Martin on their 25-man roster for the entire season and pay the Indians $50,000. If they do not, they will have to return Martin to the Tribe and receive only half of their payment back in return.

Martin spent his entire 2015 season in Double-A with the Indians, throwing for a 2.27 ERA and 2.51 FIP in 44 relief appearances for the Akron RubberDucks. Martin was one of several relievers who could have an impact in 2015 left exposed to the Rule 5 draft by the Indians. Jeff Johnson and Luis Lugo were both thought to be in danger of being taken, but will remain with the team going forward. Either of them could potentially find themselves in the Majors this year, if not on the 40-man roster by next year.

The Indians only addition was left-handed reliever Brian Moran from the Seattle Mariners. Moran was selected in the 2013 Rule 5 draft by the Los Angeles Angels (hence the promo image above), but ultimately returned to Seattle when he missed the entire 2014 season following Tommy John surgery. He struggled with command in Double-A last season, walking 12.8 percent of the batters he faced (5.04 BB/9). Pitchers can take a year or more to recover fully, so the Indians could be looking for a bounce-back from Moran in 2016. Even if he does not return to his pre-Tommy John numbers (3.45 ERA, 2.79 FIP, 12.21 K/9, 2.87 BB/9, 62.2 IP in 2013), this was a selection in the minor league portion of the draft, so the Indians have no obligation to put Moran on the 25-man roster.

And with that, take a deep breathe. The 2015 Winter Meetings are over.