Tigers face tough decisions in Rule 5 Draft

For many people, the November squeeze involves fitting Thanksgiving leftovers into an already packed stomach. For the rebuilding Tigers, the November squeeze is how to fit their advancing prospects onto their 40-man roster.

It’s that time of year again. Friday is the deadline for teams to protect eligible prospects from next month’s Rule 5 Draft, and again, the Tigers have a potential slew of them.

Each December, the Rule 5 Draft allows teams to add young talent by adding prospects from other organizations who don’t shield them by adding them to a 40-man roster. Players first signed at age 18 or younger must be added to a team’s 40-man roster within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted; players signed at age 19 or older have to be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn’t stay on the 26-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.

• Gauging the state of the Tigers’ farm system

This year, that means an international or high school Draft pick signed in 2016 — assuming he was 18 or younger as of June 5 of that year — has to be protected, and a college player taken in the ’17 Draft is in the same position.

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