ANAHEIM -- The Angels selected the contract of outfield prospect Randal Grichuk on Wednesday, adding him to the 40-man roster and thus protecting him from being selected in December's Rule 5 Draft.
Grichuk was famously taken one spot ahead of Mike Trout -- with the 24th overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft -- and though he hasn't developed nearly as fast, the Angels feel he has plenty of upside left and figured another club would be interested if they left him exposed.
Grichuk, ranked by MLB.com as the Angels' No. 4 prospect, had a breakout season for Class A Advanced Inland Empire in 2012, batting .298 with 18 homers and 16 steals. But he struggled a bit in his first stint of Double-A in 2013, posting a .256/.306/.474 slash line with 22 homers, 64 RBIs and nine steals.
Players first signed at age 18 must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be selected by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years or older have to be protected within four seasons.
Clubs pay $50,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, slated to take place on Dec. 12, the final day of the Winter Meetings. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $25,000.
The Angels' 40-man roster is now at capacity, and Grichuk was the only one expected to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft.
Others nonetheless eligible and exposed include right-handers Jeremy Berg, David Carpenter, Matt Oye, Ryan Chaffee, Kevin Johnson and Mike Piazza; outfielders Roberto Lopez and Matt Long; shortstop Rolando Gomez; and catcher Carlos Ramirez.